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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Lemon

Lemon Pound Cake

Marc J. Sievers

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I love a decadent, extravagant dessert. But sometimes, there really is nothing like a wonderfully simple cake that can quietly take center stage all on its own. My Lemon Pound Cake has been my go-to pound cake recipe for the past 15 years!  It is a version of a recipe I found in an old cookbook that belonged to my nana.  I updated it when I was learning to bake by adding fresh zingy lemon and more salt. Perfect for an everyday treat or for any special occasion, you can serve my Lemon Pound Cake with an elegant sprinkle of fresh berries, a dollop of luscious whipped cream or any of my homemade ice creams (Salted Caramel, anyone?). 

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INGREDIENTS

  • Flour – 3 cups, all-purpose

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Baking Powder – ½ teaspoon

  • Baking Soda – ½ teaspoon

  • Butter – 2 sticks, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Sugar – 2 cups, granulated

  • Vanilla – 2 teaspoons, pure extract

  • Lemon – juice and zest of 1 large lemon

  • Honey – ¼ cup, clover honey preferred

  • Eggs – 4 extra-large, at room temperature

  • Buttermilk – 1 cup, at room temperature

PREPARATION NOTES

Yield – 2 loaves

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour 2 (8 ½ by 4 ½  by 2 ½ -inch) loaf pans.

  2. In large bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. 

  4. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, honey, and the eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate. 

  5. Next, add the flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

  6. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl and transfer the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Tap the pans on a flat surface to release as many air bubbles as possible. 

  7. Transfer pans into the oven and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean. 

  8. Once you have removed the loaves from the oven, allow them to cool in the pans for 10 minutes.  Then, turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Slice and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Tip: Because this recipe makes two loaves, I can keep and enjoy one now and store the other wrapped tightly in plastic wrap in the freezer for another time.  Allow the frozen loaf to sit at room temperature (unwrapped) for 2 hours before serving. 

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Homemade Flavored Oils

Marc J. Sievers

Much of my inspiration comes from specialty food and grocery stores in my neighborhood.  In just a seven block area there are a number of major brand grocery stores as well as a handful of smaller shops and markets, fine-foods stores, and the ultimate food haven:  Eataly

With all of these options right near to me I tend to use them directly for inspiration.  I pop in and out of stores, take photos of what inspires me, take notes in a small notebook I carry in my bag, and even taste-test things that really look delicious.  After my adventures of the day, I either head back to my kitchen and start recipe testing ideas that came to me as inspiration from earlier in the day, or catalog them with a printed photo and my notes to pick up another day.

I keep a pretty well-stocked pantry at home, a bit overflowing with “high and low” ingredients—they are from specialty foods stores (the “high”), and everyday ingredients from my regular grocery stores (the “low”).  This combination not only makes recipe testing easier as I have a plethora of ingredients at my fingertips, but also more creative as there are more flavors to combine and pair together.

A staple in my pantry are flavored oils—some are homemade and some are store-bought.  I love using a basil olive oil drizzled on tomatoes, or a truffle olive oil on roasted potatoes, and my Lemon & Thyme Oil on just about anything!  You can serve this oil with big chunks of crusty bread with drinks or during dinner.  Drizzle it on a bed or arugula with crushed Pistachios, or on pasta with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

For fun, I have also included some “extras”—my Orange & Honey Oil and my Shallot & Black Pepper Oil.  All three flavored oils can be used in so many ways, so have fun experimenting!


Thyme & Lemon Oil

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

  • Thyme – 10 sprigs, fresh

  • Lemon – 1, thinly peeled

  • Garlic – 4 cloves, peeled, lightly smashed

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients.

  2. Allow the oil to come to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat, transfer into a small glass bowl, and allow to cool completely at room temperature.

  4. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Shallot & Black Pepper Oil

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

  • Shallots – 1 tablespoon, finely minced

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add all of the ingredients.

  2. Allow the oil to come to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat, transfer into a small glass bowl, and allow to cool completely at room temperature.

  4. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Orange & Honey Oil

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil – ½ cup

  • Orange – 1, thinly peeled

  • Honey – ½ teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat, add the olive oil and orange peel.

  2. Allow the oil to come to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and cook for 3 minutes.

  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey.

  4. Transfer into a small glass bowl, and allow to cool completely to room temperature.

  5. Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Tip:  I like to make flavored oils in small batches to ensure they stay as fresh and flavorful as possible.  These oils can be stored in an air tight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.  Gently reheat the oil in a small saucepan set oven low heat until the oil liquifies again.  You can either serve the oil warm or at room temperature.  You can easily expand this recipe by two or three times for larger quantities.

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Apple Turnover with Brie

Marc J. Sievers

When I was little and would watch my Nan bake, she would always give me left-over scraps of pie dough to play with.  I would wrap them around apple slices and sprinkle them with cinnamon and sugar, and little did I realize then that I effectively had an instant apple turnover!  Now, 35 years later, I am still doing just that, except I have a little more culinary knowledge under by belt.

I love taking simple ingredients and injecting some new life into an old favorite, like a classic apple turnover.  My Apple Turnover with Brie has been given a Marc Sievers-twist with store-bought puff pastry, creamy Brie, lemon zest, and two different types of ground peppers:  Pink Pepper and White Pepper.  The pink peppercorns have a slightly sweeter and more floral flavor with a lemony undertone, while the white peppercorns have a much more distinctive peppery heat.  Each lends unique aromatics to help make a classic apple turnover more flavorful and complex!


Apple Turnover with Brie

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • Frozen Puff Pastry - 1 sheet, thawed in the refrigerator

  • Apples – 2 Pink Lady, cored and ½-inch chopped

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Pink Peppercorns – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked (mortar and pestle works perfectly)

  • White Pepper – ¼ teaspoon

  • Sugar – 2 tablespoons, granulated

  • Lemon Zest – ¾ teaspoon

  • Brie – 4 ounces, divided

  • *Egg Wash – 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

Direction

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Begin by laying out the thawed sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface. Lightly roll into a 10-inch by 14-inch square.

  3. Cut 4 equal-sized rectangles, place onto the prepared sheet pan then place into the refrigerator.

  4. Next, in a medium sized sauce pan set over medium heat, cook the apples, sugar, salt, lemon zest, butter and both ground peppers for 15-20 minutes, or until tender but not mushy.

  5. Remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator.

  6. Spoon equal amounts of the apple mixture onto one-third of each rectangle, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges.

  7. Then, top the apple mixture with one ounce of Brie per pastry.

  8. Brush all edges with *egg wash and fold the remaining two-thirds of the dough over the filling. Gently press the edges to seal completely using a fluted pastry cutter or fork. Repeat until all turn-overs have been assembled.

  9. Place into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

  10. Remove from the refrigerator, brush the top of each pastry with the egg wash and then cut three small slits through the top layer of each pastry for steam to escape.

  11. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 17-20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

  12. Serve slightly warm or room temperature.

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Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Marc J. Sievers

One of my favorite things to do at home is have a pot of tea with Ryan on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  Throughout the years I have collected antique silver and porcelain teapots, sugar bowls, creamers, and other accessories to create my own special and unique tea service at home.  I have also done a good job at building up my tea selection and always keep a little tin of cookies or biscuits on hand to enjoy, as the English do so well.

When I want to make something homemade for a special treat my go-to recipe is my Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies!  They are buttery and crisp, and have such a well-rounded flavor that pairs perfectly with black tea (my favorite is Earl Grey Lavender) with honey and cream.

Whether you enjoy a cup of tea on the go (wrap a single cookie in parchment), set an elaborate table for tea time (serve these on a silver platter), or just want to eat scrumptious shortbread (these also make fabulous gifts), these are perfectly versatile and delicious.  I hope you love them as much as I do.  Now, if only I had a bigger tin!  Hats on, pinkies up, its tea time!


Lavender Lemon Shortbread Cookies 

Ingredients (makes 12 cookies)

  • Butter - 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Sugar - ⅓ cup, granulated

  • Vanilla - ½ teaspoon, pure extract

  • Sea Salt - ⅛ teaspoon

  • Honey - 2 tablespoons

  • Lemon Zest - 1 ½ tablespoons

  • Flour - 1 cup + 2 tablespoons, all-purpose

  • Lavender - 2 tablespoons, dried, lightly chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment set to medium speed, mix together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the vanilla, sea salt, honey, and lemon zest and mix until well incorporated.

  4. Next, with the mixer running on low speed, add the flour and lavender. Mix until the dough comes together,

  5. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and gently shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  6. Remove the dough and place onto a floured surface.

  7. Roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thickness and use a fluted edged cutter to cut out cookies. Gather excess dough and repeat process of rolling and cutting.

  8. Place cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the pan into the refrigerator for another 15 minutes.

  9. Remove from the refrigerator, place into the preheated oven and bake for 14-18 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a light brown.

  10. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Golden Raisin Bread

Marc J. Sievers

When life gives you golden raisins make them into bread—isn’t that how that “famous” saying goes?  Or perhaps that was something to do with lemons, which in this case you can also add to bread!  Needless to say, those two ingredients are the stars in my newest recipe for Golden Raisin Bread.

While I did not start with the intention to make this exact recipe, it just evolved on its own, and turned out to be what I now consider as one of my top ten recipes of all time.  And yes, I realize that is a huge statement!

When I headed into my kitchen last week I began testing an Irish Soda Bread recipe, in anticipation of St. Patrick’s Day.  I spent almost two days reading through recipes from my library of cookbooks, and scouring the internet for articles and reviews of recipes that seemed noteworthy.  I wanted to make sure my recipe stayed true to the original roots of Irish Soda Bread, at which point I stumbled upon the official web site for The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Breads.  I found it to be absolutely fascinating!

As I read through the history of this iconic bread, I learned that traditional Irish Soda Bread has just four ingredients:  Buttermilk, flour, salt, and baking soda.  Any deviation from that simple formula would not only make it not authentic, but it would also change the flavor, texture, and appearance.   Instead of trying to “re-create” an historic tradition, I decided to take the base ingredients, add other flavorings, and try to create something new and different, but grounded in the theme of an Irish Soda Bread.

After scrumptious taste-testing and almost eight loaves of bread later, my Golden Raisin Bread was finished!  I transformed the classic recipe with additions like lemon zest, brown sugar, and golden raisins—a simple bread loaf became something perfect to serve at breakfast (toasted with raspberry preserves), at teatime (accompanied by clotted cream), or even as part of a bread basket with lunch or dinner (salted butter, anyone?!).

The texture is somewhere between a biscuit and a scone, the lemon zest adds a lovely brightness, and the golden raisins add both sweetness and a fabulous texture.  The entire recipe is prepared using a big bowl and rubber spatula—no electric mixer, no rising, no fuss.  All of the ingredients are readily found at your local grocery store, and from start to finish takes less than 60 minutes—making it the perfect bread to bake on a whim!


Golden Raisin Bread

Ingredients

  • Flour – 4 cups, all-purpose, plus 2 tablespoon

  • Baking Soda – 2 teaspoons

  • Cream of Tartar – ½ teaspoon

  • Fine Sea Salt – 2 teaspoons

  • Dark Brown Sugar – 4 tablespoons

  • Buttermilk – 2 cups, cold

  • Eggs – 1 extra-large, plus 1 extra-large yolk, at room temperature

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Golden Raisins – 2 cups

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. In a large bowl, sift together 4 cups of flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour and raisins. Toss to coat. Set aside.

  4. In another small bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs, and lemon zest. Lightly beat to break up the yolks.

  5. Next, add the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold everything together until it is just combine.

  6. Add the raisins and fold them into the dough.

  7. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times until it forms a round loaf, roughly 9-inches around by 3-inches high.

  8. Place the loaf onto the prepared sheet pan. Using a serrated knife, cut an “X” into the top of the loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the melted butter.

  9. Bake for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. The loaf will have a hollow sound when you tap the top.

  10. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

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Classic French Omelette

Marc J. Sievers

A French style omelette is such a fabulous recipe to have in your repertoire!  They are thinner and more elegant than an American version.  With that being said, you can serve them for breakfast, brunch, and especially dinner.

I love having friends over for dinner and surprising them with my Classic French Omelette and a glass of champagne!  It is such a simple technique that once you have mastered it, you will be able to make a perfect (parfait!) omelette in a matter of seconds.  The recipe outlined below is for my Classic Omelette as well as my Savory Omelette.


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - French Omelettes (filmed in Williams-Sonoma Lincoln Park's grand gourmet kitchen!) for a complete tutorial:


Classic French Omelette

Ingredients (makes 1 omelette, multiply recipe as needed)

  • Eggs – 2, extra-large, at room temperature

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon

Directions

  1. Start by beating the eggs until the yolks and whites are fully incorporated.

  2. Place an 10-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Allow the pan to get very hot, but not smoking.

  3. Add the butter and swirl it around to evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Once the butter is completely melted, the foam has subsided, pour the eggs into the center of the butter.

  4. Allow the eggs to sit for just a few seconds before you begin swirling the pan over the heat.

  5. Continue the swirling motion for roughly 20 to 25 seconds. Once the eggs begin to set and there is just a little bit of wetness in the center, jerk the pan several times back and forth in order to fold the eggs onto itself. The finished omelette will end up in the far lip of the pan.

  6. Grasp the handle of the pan from underneath and rest the far lip of the pan (where the Omelette has formed) slightly off-center onto the bottom of a dinner plate.

  7. Gently turn the pan upside down over the plate. The omelette will then drop into position. Et Voilà, a classic French omelette!


Savory Omelette

Ingredients (makes 1 omelette, multiply recipe as needed)

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon

  • Lemon Zest – 1 teaspoon

  • Garlic – 1 clove, finely minced

  • Yellow Onion – ½ cup, thinly sliced

  • Triple Cream Brie – 2 slices, ¼-inch thick

  • Parsley – ¼ cup, freshly chopped

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon, plus more for garnish

Directions

  1. In a medium sauté pan set of medium heat add the olive oil and onions. Allow to cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and tender.

  2. Next add the garlic and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, be careful not to burn the garlic. Turn off the heat and set aside.

  3. Add the lemon zest, salt and pepper to the beaten eggs and follow cooking and plating instructions for the classic omelette.

  4. Once the omelette is plated, top with the brie, onion mixture, and fresh parsley. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and serve immediately.

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Fool-Proof Ricotta

Marc J. Sievers

Have you ever had ricotta cheese and thought, “Eww, this is grainy, tasteless, and just plain disgusting!”?  Well, me too, and I’m Italian!  Those thoughts could have me swimming with the fishes, if you know what I mean.

When I was a kid my family was always in the kitchen whipping up savory and sweet masterpieces, but I never really liked ricotta cheese.  In fact, I used to hate it as much as I do kale chips (sorry, they will never replace the kettle cooked potato varieties).  Fast forward a “few” years and I now am eating my Fool-Proof Ricotta on toasted Italian bread, crackers, or even by the spoonful!

My recipe is simple, has very few ingredients, and can even be made with all organic ingredients.  It is full of sweet flavor but has the lightest texture you have ever tasted.  Serve my Fool-Proof Ricotta as a hors d’oeurve with fresh honey comb and basil leaves, as a filling for lasagna, or even make it into a ricotta cheesecake.  Mangia!


Fool-Proof Ricotta

Ingredients (makes 1½ cups)

  • Whole Milk – 4 cups

  • Heavy Cream – 2 cups

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Lemon Juice – ¼ cup, freshly squeezed

Directions

  1. In a large sauce pan set over medium-high heat add the milk, cream, and sea salt.

  2. Allow the liquid to come to a full boil, then remove it from the heat and add the lemon juice. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

  3. In the meantime, line a fine mesh sieve with 6 layers of damp cheesecloth. Then set it over a very large bowl.

  4. After 5 minutes, pour the milk mixture into the cheesecloth and allow the cheese to drain for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. During the draining time, fold the ends of the cheesecloth in onto itself and gently press to expel excess liquid, do this at least 4 times. This will ensure you end up with an extremely luxurious and creamy ricotta.

  5. Scrap the cheese from the sides of the cheesecloth and transfer it into a serving bowl. You can also place it into an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Note: Depending on the size of the bowl, you may have to empty the liquid a few times during draining.

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Cheers! St. Germain with Bubbles!

Marc J. Sievers

I recently did an interview for Blendabout.com, a social dinning website that matches people with common interests into small groups for meals at restaurants all over the country.  BlendAbout schedules group meals for approximately six people that share the same interests, allowing users to connect and mingle comfortably.  They asked me all about cocktails, a topic I do know a thing-or-two about!  I wanted to create a cocktail that was something guests would be impressed by, with a unique flavor profile, and could be made easily in large quantities.

Since I love St. Germain which is an elderflower flavored liqueur, I knew I wanted to highlight the beautiful, floral notes.  My St. Germain with Bubbles is now the most requested cocktail from clients when I am hosting their dinner parties!  Cheers!


St. Germain with Bubbles

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • St. Germain – 6 tablespoons, divided

  • Champagne – (your favorite) – 1 bottle, chilled

  • Basil – 6 leaves, small

  • Blueberries – 18, gently smashed (using the back of a spoon)

  • Lemon Juice – 6 teaspoons, divided

  • Lemon Curls – for garnish

  • Sugar – 6 cubes

Directions

  1. Start by filling 6 flutes with champagne.

  2. Next, evenly divide the St. Germain and lemon juice into each flute.

  3. Garnish with basil, blueberries and lemon curls.

  4. Right before serving, drop a sugar cube into each flute.

Tip: While the basil and blueberries do not add a lot of flavor directly to the aperitif, it’s an unexpected (but FABULOUS!) surprise at the end when you bite and get the spiciness of the basil and sweetness of the blueberry.  It almost acts as a palette cleanser and readies your taste buds for what’s next!

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Cheers! The Tuscan

Marc J. Sievers

On of my favorite movies is Under the Tuscan Sun!  I love watching  it and imagining myself cooking, eating, and drinking luscious food and wine on a blanket under a big tree. In this blissful Italian daydream I would need a cocktail.  And what better way to capture the essence of the countryside than with oranges, lemons, rosemary, and Amaretto, my creation The Tuscan!  This total crowd pleaser can be mixed in advance, stored in the refrigerator, and poured over ice to get the party started.  Cheers!


The Tuscan

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Amaretto – ¾ cup

  • Vodka – ¾ cup

  • Grand Marnier® – Splash to taste

  • Rosemary – 3 sprigs

  • Lemonade – 2¼ cups

  • Orange – 3 large slices

Directions

  1. First, fill 6 double old fashioned glasses with ice. Zest 6 large peels of orange.

  2. In a large cocktail shaker, muddle the leaves of 3 sprigs of rosemary and all the orange slices to a rough pulp. Add ice to the cocktail shaker.

  3. Pour in the Amaretto, vodka, Grand Marnier®, and lemonade. Top the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Remove the top and pour through a fine strainer evenly into each glass.

  4. Garnish each glass with ½ of a fresh rosemary sprig and one large orange peel. Serve immediately.

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Fresh Green Pea Hummus

Marc J. Sievers

Spring is here (I think)!  So many wonderful fruits and vegetables are in their prime this time of year, green peas being my number 1 favorite!  I love the earthy taste and “bite” they have when perfectly cooked or sautéed.  My recipe for Fresh Green Pea Hummus combines simple, fresh ingredients that create a delicious dip with crackers, a topping for tartines or a healthy spread for sandwiches.  The flavors are bursting at the seam (or should I say pod)!

Going “green” has never tasted so good!


Fresh Green Pea Hummus

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Red Onion – ½ cup, medium dice

  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Red Pepper Flakes – 1/8 teaspoon

  • Peas – 2 cups, fresh, uncooked

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Thyme – 1½ teaspoons, fresh

  • Hummus – 4 tablespoon, plain variety

  • Butter – 1 teaspoon, unsalted

  • Parmesan – for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add olive oil, onion, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook for 6 - 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Next, add the butter, peas, lemon zest and thyme. Continue cooking for another 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 minute.

  4. Transfer sautéed mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.

  5. Add the hummus and pulse 10 - 15 times, or until desired texture is achieved.

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Roasted Savory Carrots

Marc J. Sievers

Carrots get a rustic and chic makeover!

With Easter right around the corner, I’m sure many of you are in the midst of planning the menu!  While I still prepare many of my families traditional recipes, I am always looking to reinvent a classic, like carrots.  My recipe for Roasted Savory Carrots combines flavor like honey, basil, lemon and dark chocolate, what a combination!  Roasting the carrots also helps bring out the natural sweetness and earthy flavor.

Not only are these perfect for Easter or when hosting company, but they are a fabulous addition to any casual weeknight meal.  The steps are simple and the ingredients are found at your local grocery store, making this the perfect elevated home-cooked recipe!


Roasted Savory Carrots

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • Carrots – 2 pounds, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then in 2-inch pieces

  • Butter – 3 tablespoons, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Honey – 4 tablespoons

  • Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Basil – 3/4 cup, freshly chopped, divided

  • Lemon – 1 medium, zested

  • Dark Chocolate - 4 tablespoons, freshly shaved

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. On a sheet pan, toss the carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.

  3. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, tossing once during the cooking process.

  4. In a large bowl combine the lemon zest, honey, butter and 1/2 cup of basil. Add the carrots and toss until evenly coated.

  5. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of basil. Garnish with chocolate shavings.

Serve warm and enjoy!

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Lemon Blueberry Pancakes

Marc J. Sievers

Growing up on the east coast, I have always been fortunate enough to enjoy big, juicy and flavorful Maine blueberries when ever they were in season!  As a little boy, I remember going to blueberry fields and picking them fresh right from the towering bushes.  We would pick huge baskets full, and then turn them into homemade jam, pie's, blueberry syrup for ice cream, and my favorite blueberry pancakes!

While I can't (and won't!) say exactly how many blueberry pancakes I have eaten, I can honestly tell you they have never even come close to my Lemon Blueberry Pancakes!  The flavor combination of blueberries, honey and lemon are the perfect paring to start your breakfast or brunch off on a high note!  They are simple to prepare and ingredients are readily found at your local grocery.


Ingredients (serves 4 - 6)

  • Flour - 2 cups, all-purpose

  • Sugar - 1/4 cup

  • Baking Powder - 2 1/4 teaspoons

  • Baking Soda 1/2 teaspoon

  • Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

  • Honey - 3 tablespoons

  • Vanilla - 1 tablespoon, pure extract

  • Lemon - 1 medium, zested

  • Eggs - 2 extra-large

  • Buttermilk - 2 cups

  • Butter - 1 1/2 sticks, unsalted, divided

  • Blueberries - 1 1/2 cups, fresh

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

  2. Combine theflour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Then add the eggs, buttermilk, lemon zest, honey, vanilla, and 4 tablespoons of melted butter to the dry ingredients and whisk together until the batter is smooth. Add blueberry and stir to incorporate. (Do not over mix, batter will be slightly lumpy)

  3. Next, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

  4. Using a ¼ measuring cup, scoop even amounts of the batter into the sauté pan (being careful to keep them from touching) and let each pancake cook for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

  5. (The top of the pancakes will form bubbles and that generally means they are ready to flip.)

  6. Place the cooked pancakes onto a sheet pan and transfer into the oven to ensure keep they stay warm while you cook the remaining pancakes.

  7. After each batch of pancakes carefully wipe out the sauté pan (it’s hot!) with a paper towel, add another 2 tablespoons of butter and continue the same process until all pancake batter is used.

Serve with warm maple syrup and enjoy!

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