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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Goat Cheese

Warm Figs with Goat Cheese

Marc J. Sievers

Fresh figs are such a luxury this time of year!  Their normal season begins the first few weeks of June, then they come back to greet us from August through October.  While you can certainly find dried figs year round—they are fabulous to serve with cheeses, in pastas, or just eaten right from the container—fresh figs add such an elegant touch to a party.

In the past, I have written a few recipes using these luscious fruits, but my Warm Figs with Goat Cheese may just become your new favorite way to enjoy fresh figs this time of year!  How can you go wrong with fresh figs drizzled in earthy honey, rosemary, pistachios, and goat cheese?  The aromatic and savory rosemary adds a bit of an autumnal vibe, perfect for the start of this transitional time of year. 

Presentation is very casual as guests can literally spoon the warm figs onto slices of toasted bread.  Or, serve as a salad!  Best of all, you can assemble this dish one hour head of time and allow it to sit at room temperature (no need to take up precious fridge space).  Add the pistachios just before you are ready to bake and then bake as your guests arrive and are greeted by a fabulous and sophisticated aroma that will surely get them excited for what’s to come.

I like to bake and serve this dish in a cast iron skillet or pie plate—from oven to table!  Summer coming to an end isn’t so bad after all!  This is only the beginning of the fabulous fruits of Fall!


Warm Figs with Goat Cheese

Ingredients (serves 6 as an hors d’oeuvre, 4 as salad course)

  • Fresh Figs – 1 pint, stems removed and cut in half

  • Honey – 1/3 cup

  • Rosemary – ¾ teaspoon, finely minced

  • Goat Cheese – 3 ounces, at room temperature

  • Pistachios – ¼ cup, roughly chopped

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • *Baguette or crackers for serving as a hors d’oeuvre

  • *Arugula for serving as a salad

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Arrange the figs cut side up in a single layer in an oven proof dish or cast iron skillet.

  3. Drizzle the honey over the figs and sprinkle evenly with the pistachios, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Crumble the goat cheese evenly over top.

  4. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the cheese begins to soften.

  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

As an hors d’oeuvre – allow guests to spoon the warm figs onto toasted slices of baguette or simple crackers.

As a salad – arrange handfuls of washed arugula onto salad plates (or onto a large platter for family style) and top with the warm figs.  The honey and natural juices from the figs will act as the vinaigrette.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Bistro Salad

Marc J. Sievers

This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday.  Though it is a holiday in my head, it is still a regular workday for most of us.  But, it also promises to be a great start to a romantic weekend.  With that in mind, I want to keep the kitchen time down to a minimum on Friday so that I can kick off my “Valentine’s Weekend” doing what I love most—spending time with my Valentine.

What to do when you want to have a romantic night in sipping Champagne and gazing into your beau’s eyes, but still make a fabulously-delicious dish?  Using a few classics from the traditional Valentine’s Day pantry I created my delicious Bistro Salad, and it assembles faster than Cupid’s arrow can find its mark.

My Bistro Salad combines sweet honey, tangy goat cheese, strawberries, and chocolate making it the perfect romantic (and quick!) dinner on the Day of Love.  It takes just minutes to assemble and will pair perfectly with a bold Cabernet or crisp glass of bubbly.  Most importantly, it will give you the latitude to enjoy a rich and decadent dessert without robbing you of your sense of romance!  Whether you are spending this day with friends or your special someone, I hope the day brings love, hugs, and champagne.  Eat well, laugh often, and above all share the love, for Cupid’s sake!


Bistro Salad

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Greens – 5 ounces, rinsed and well-dried

  • Goat Cheese – 3 ounces, crumbled

  • Strawberries – 1 cup, hulled and quartered

  • Sliced Almonds – ¼ c cup

  • Pistachios – ¼ cup

  • Honey – 3 tablespoons

  • White Balsamic Vinegar – 3 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Dark Chocolate – 3 tablespoons, 72%, shaved with a vegetable peeler

Directions

  1. Place the greens in a serving vessel of your choice.

  2. Evenly distribute the strawberries, nuts, and goat cheese over the greens.

  3. Drizzle the honey and balsamic vinegar over top. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chocolate.

  4. Serve immediately.

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French Savory Tarts

Marc J. Sievers

Onion & Goat Cheese Tart

One of the best and most versatile recipes a savvy home cook should have in their repertoire is a simple pastry dough recipe.  Well, are you in for a treat!  One of the components for my Savory French Tart happens to be a buttery pastry crust made with a recipe that does not require any specialty equipment, ingredients, or large amounts of time.  The dough can be transformed into either a sweet or savory base by just adding or subtracting ingredients like white pepper, rosemary, sugar, and other fresh herbs and spices.  You can then use the dough for tarts, pies, quiches, and crostatas.

With the holiday season fast approaching I am always thinking of recipes that I can make in advance, have multiple uses,  and serve to my guests in a few different settings.  My Savory French Tart fits the bill!  I can make it ahead of time and serve it with a simple salad and a bowl of White Bean Soup with Fresh Parsley Pesto for a dinner party, I can serve it at cocktail hour for an hors d’oeuvre, or even as part of a buffet, the list goes on and on!  Happy entertaining!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Savory French Tarts for a complete tutorial:


French Savory Tarts

Ingredients (serves 4 - 6)

Crust

  • Flour – 1½ cups, all-purpose

  • Butter – 1 stick, diced, unsalted, very cold

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Sugar – 2 teaspoons, granulated

  • White Pepper – ½ teaspoon

  • Rosemary – 1 tablespoon, fresh, finely minced

  • Water – 8 tablespoons, very cold

Caramelized Onions

  • Yellow Onions – 4 cups, thinly sliced

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced

  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon, granulated

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon

Custard

  • Eggs – 4 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Heavy Cream – 1 cup

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon

  • Nutmeg – ¾ teaspoon, freshly grated

Directions

Crust

  1. Place the flour, salt, white pepper, sugar, and fresh rosemary into a medium sized bowl. Whisk to mix ingredients.

  2. Next add the butter. Use a pastry blender to quickly break the butter into pea-sized pieces.

  3. Add the ice water and with your hand slightly cupped quickly work the water into the flour.

  4. Lightly flour you work surface (a granite or marble countertop is ideal as it keeps the dough very cold).

  5. Press the dough into a roughly shaped ball.

  6. Using the heel of one hand and rapidly press the dough in small amounts onto the board and away from you. Repeat this process two times. Doing so will ensure that the butter has been completely blended.

  7. Gather the dough into a smooth ball, dust lightly with flour, and wrap it in waxed paper.

  8. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

  9. Butter an 11½ inch tart pan.

  10. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  11. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it onto a lightly floured work surface.

  12. Quickly roll out the dough to be slightly larger than your pan and to be about ⅛-inch thick, making sure to lift and turn the dough during the rolling process to prevent it from sticking.

  13. Fold the rolled piece of dough into quarters and gently place it in ¼ or the prepared tart pan. Unfold the dough inside the tart pan.

  14. Gently press the dough onto the bottom of the tart pan. Then lift the edges of the dough from underneath and work it around the sides of the tart pan. Trim off the excess dough by rolling your pin over the top of the pan.

  15. Prick the bottom of the dough all over several times with the tines of a small fork. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill it to the top with dried beans or pie weights.

  16. Place the tart pan onto a sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.

  17. Carefully remove the parchment paper and beans, prick the bottom of the dough again with a small fork, and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Set aside. Leave the tart pan on the sheet pan.

Caramelized Onions

  1. In a large sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter and olive oil. Add the onions, salt, pepper, and sugar.

  2. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are very tender and caramelized.

  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

  4. Spread the onions in an even layer on the bottom on the partially baked tart shell.

Custard & Assembly

  1. Whisk the eggs, heavy cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a small bowl.

  2. Pour the mixture slowly into the tart shell over the onions.

  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top of the tart is slightly puffed and golden.

  4. Allow to cool for 20 minutes, then unmold the tart from the pan.

  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Optional Garnish: Before baking, dot the top with goat cheese and ⅛-inch thick sliced rounds of peeled red onion.  Bake as directed.

Tip: Finished tart can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.  Allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Idea: You can make the dough 2 days ahead of time.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.  Follow all preparation and baking instructions as written.

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Goat Cheese French Toast Soufflé

Marc J. Sievers

Having people over for brunch is about to get even more delicious!  My Goat Cheese French Toast Soufflé is the perfect dish to make when you want to sip champagne with friends and do the least amount of cooking possible.  It’s packed with sweet (honey), savory (goat cheese), & citrus (orange) flavors and has the most airy-light texture.

You can also pair this with freshly sliced strawberries topped with julienned basil leaves.  After making this, you may never want to make traditional French toast again.  Happy brunch-ing!


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Challah bread – 8 slices ¾-inch thick

  • Eggs – 4, extra-large, PLUS 1 extra-large yolk

  • Half-n-half – 3 cups

  • Honey – 3 tablespoon, divided

  • Light Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoon

  • Orange Zest – 3 tablespoon

  • Orange Juice – 1 tablespoon

  • Vanilla – 1 tablespoon, pure extract

  • Cinnamon – 1 ½ teaspoon

  • Nutmeg – ¾ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Goat Cheese – 5-ounces, crumbled

  • Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Start by arranging the first layer of bread in a 9-inch square by 2-inch deep baking dish. Make sure to fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread.

  3. Next, evenly distribute the goat cheese onto the first layer. Then, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of honey.

  4. Arrange the remaining slices of bread on top of the goat cheese and honey. Make sure to fill in any gaps with small pieces of bread. Set aside.

  5. In a large glass bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-n-half, vanilla, sugar, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, orange juice, orange zest, and remaining 2 tablespoons of honey.

  6. Pour the custard over the bread, gently pressing the bread down. You may need to move the bread from the around the edges slightly in order for the custard to seep down. Allow the mixture to set for 10 minutes.

  7. Dot the top of the bread with butter.

  8. Place the baking dish in a larger pan and add enough hot tap water to the larger pan to come halfway up the side of the baking dish. This is called a water bath (or bain marie) and is used when baking a custard to slow down the cooking process so the milk will not boil and curdle the eggs.

  9. Cover the larger pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn’t touch the bread. Make two slits in the foil to allow steam to escape.

  10. Lastly, bake for 45 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil, and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes. The bread with be puffed up and golden brown.

  11. Serve immediately.

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Strawberry & Goat Cheese “Hero”

Marc J. Sievers

Goat-Cheese-and-Strawberry-Hero.png

Transforming one dish into something totally different is exactly how my Strawberry & Goat Cheeses “Hero” came about.  I was sitting at a chic little Chicago bistro waiting for the strawberry and goat cheese salad I ordered for lunch, while I simultaneously ate the ENTIRE bread basket that was filled with fresh baguette slices (and butter!).

After my salad arrived (and I ate that, too!) I thought I should take the best components of my salad and wrap them in a crusty baguette!  Plain and simple, no fuss, just fresh ingredients that all compliment one another.  This scrumptious “hero” will take your taste buds up, up, and away!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Summertime Picnic for a complete tutorial:


Strawberry & Goat Cheese “Hero”

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • Demi Baguette

  • Goat Cheese – 4 ounces, room temperature

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1/2 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon

  • Strawberries – 1/2 cup, hulled and sliced

  • Balsamic Reduction – 2-3 tablespoons, store bought

  • Herbed Salad Mix – large handful (arugula may be substituted)

  • Basil – 1/3 cup, fresh, roughly chopped

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Honey- 1 tablespoon

Directions

  1. Start by slicing the baguette in half lengthwise.

  2. Next, drizzle each cut side with olive oil and honey.

  3. Then, spread evenly with goat cheese. Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper and lemon zest.

  4. Add the strawberries to one side and greens to the other.

  5. Drizzle evenly with balsamic reduction.

  6. Bring halves together and slice in half.

  7. Serve immediately or wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

Order a signed copy of my cookbook Entertaining with Love!

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Goat Cheese & Blueberry Canapés

Marc J. Sievers

With the Oscars just a few days away, I thought it very fitting to create a chic, yet simple (my favorite) hors d’oeuvre for the occasion!  Whenever I throw a cocktail party, I try to serve things that are flavorful and balanced, have elegance to them but never “too fussy”.  While my food tends to be more on the rustic-casual-chic side (say that 10 times fast!), I always want to elevate it within the flavor combinations.  My Goat Cheese & Blueberry Canapés will have you seeing stars, literally!

The addition of fresh thyme helps add a little savory flair!


Goat Cheese & Blueberry Canapés

Ingredients (serves 10)

  • Goat Cheese – 5 ounces

  • Blueberries – 30, fresh

  • Thyme – 30 pieces, for garnish

  • Edible Star Glitter – Wilton brand recommended

  • Honey Comb - 5 ounces

  • Black Pepper Crackers – 30

Directions

  1. Simply layer a cracker with goat cheese and honey comb. Top cracker with a blueberry, sprinkle with edible glitter and finish off with a fresh thyme garnish. Repeat steps until desired amount have been assembled.

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