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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Strawberry

Sparkling Raspberry Sorbet

Marc J. Sievers

It is no secret I love to entertain at home!  From menu planning, to setting the table, or spending time in my kitchen, I will find any excuse to throw a soirée!  While I certainly have a few tricks up my sleeve to ensure my guests are always having a fabulous time, my #1 tip is to never make everything yourself.  I like to choose two or three different dishes to prepare, then rely on favorite store-bought brands, bakeries, and gourmet markets to round out my menu.  It’s the simplest way to ensure that I have fun at my own parties!

They say the dessert is what people always remember from any party.  A really good dessert is always something I like to pay special attention to.  Whether I am making it myself or heading to one of my neighborhood bakeries, I make sure to always have something that will WOW! everyone – myself included!  That is exactly what my Sparking Raspberry Sorbet will do at your next party—it will bring that perfect WOW! factor.  This particular dessert relies on simple components; really good Champagne, really good store-bought Raspberry Sorbet, and the most flavorful homemade Four Berry Sauce.

Besides being a perfectly elegant dessert for any occasion, it is one of the easiest desserts to assemble.  Once you make the Four Berry Sauce (which uses frozen berries and can be stored in the refrigerator), it all comes together in just a few minutes!  I love to serve this in a small coupe, small bowl, or even in a martini glass.  Bottoms (and spoons!) up!


Four Berry Sauce

Ingredients (makes 1 ½ cups)

  • Frozen Berry Medley – 1 pound (raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, & blueberries)

  • Raspberry Preserves – 2 tablespoons

  • Raspberry Liqueur – 1 tablespoon, Chambord preferred

  • Lemon Zest – 1 teaspoon

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the frozen berries, preserves, liqueur, and lemon zest.

  2. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the berries have released their juices and are very tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

  3. Place a fine mesh sieve over a glass bowl. Transfer the mixture into the sieve.

  4. Using the back of a wooden spoon press the mixture through the sieve.

  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

To Serve: Layer this luscious berry sauce in a small coupe with a single scoop of raspberry sorbet and ¼ cup of very dry, chilled Champagne.  It is a perfect dessert for a grown-up celebration, very elegant presentation, and just an all around fabulous surprise for your guests.  

Tip: If you don’t have raspberry preserves, you can substitute strawberry, blueberry, or blackberry.  The pectin in the preserves is what will thicken the berry sauce slightly.

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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Strawberry & Goat Cheese “Hero”

Marc J. Sievers

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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.

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Fancy Schmancy Butter!

Marc J. Sievers

OK!  So let me start by giving you the true definition of what I call “Fancy Schmancy Butter”:

Compound butters (French: “Beurre composé”, pl. “Beurres composés”) are mixtures of butter and supplementary ingredients. Primarily, they are used to enhance flavor in various dishes, in a fashion similar to a sauce. [Wikipedia]

Now that we have all the formalities out of the way, doesn’t that just sound delicious?!  I have been making (and eating!) fancy schmancy butters for years.  They are all the rage is fabulous bistros and high-end eateries all of the world.  They can be made in a wide variety of flavors, textures and even colors and are as simple as chopping, dash-ing, and mixing!  Whether you are serving something savory or something sweet, my fancy schmancy butters are guaranteed to add a burst of flavor and a creaminess to anything you can dream up!

Three distinct flavors; endless serving possibilities!


Herbed Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Dill - 2 teaspoons, finely minced, fresh

  • Parsley - 2 teaspoons, finely minced, Italian flat leaf variety

  • Chives - 2 teaspoons, finely minced

  • Honey – 1 teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4½ -inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Tip: Pairs perfectly with roasted and steamed vegetables, grilled chicken and fish, pasta and toasted baguette.


Countryside Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Orange Zest – 1 tablespoon

  • Strawberry Preserves – 2 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.


Tip: Pairs perfectly with biscuits, french toast and pancakes.


Sweet Butter

Ingredients

  • Butter – 1 stick, unsalted, at room temperature

  • Brown Sugar – 2 teaspoons

  • Milk Chocolate – 2 tablespoons, rough chopped

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until combined.

  2. Cut a strip of parchment paper 4 1/2 inches wide and place the mixture on the short end of the paper. Roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter, rolling the parchment paper around the butter mixture. Twist ends to close. Chill overnight.

  3. Serve by cutting into 1/2 inch thick slices.

Tip: Pairs perfectly with pancakes, croissants and warm baguette for an unexpected twist for dessert.

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Roquefort & Preserves Squares

Marc J. Sievers

The smell of puff pastry baking in the oven is what I would imagine patisserie-heaven would smell like.  Now, add Roquefort cheese and strawberry (or fig) preserves inside and you have a delicious, simple, and unexpected hors d’oeuvre to serve to your guests at your next soirée!

The beauty with my recipe for Roquefort & Preserves Squares is using frozen store-bought puff pastry, good quality store-bought or home-made preserves.  Also, you can assemble this a few hours in advance, leave it in the refrigerator, and bake it right before your guests arrive, et voilà!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - Parisian Cocktail Party for a complete tutorial:


Roquefort & Preserves Squares

Ingredients (makes 12 squares)

  • Puff Pastry – 1 package (2 sheets), defrosted

  • Strawberry Preserves – ¾ cup

  • Roquefort – ¾ cup, crumbled

  • Egg – 1 whole, extra-large, beaten

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Begin by laying out one thawed sheet of puff pastry on a floured surface. Lightly roll into a 11-inch by 14-inchrectangle. Place it on the sheet pan.

  3. Spread the strawberry preserves onto the pastry, leaving a ½-inch border around the entire pastry.

  4. Sprinkle the crumbled cheese evenly on the preserves and within the border.

  5. Next, lightly roll the second piece of puff pastry into a 11-inch by 14-inch rectangle, as you did for the first. Then, brush the border of the first pastry with the egg wash. Lay the second pastry square directly on top of the first square, lining up the edges. Be careful not to stretch or pull the pastry out of shape.

  6. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash, and then cut five slits through the top layer of pastry, for steam to escape. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  7. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Turn once mid-way through the baking time. Bake until puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut into strips or squares. Serve warm or room-temperature.

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A Bubbly "Kiss"

Marc J. Sievers

No matter the occasion, champagne always makes an appearance at all of my parties, no matter the time of day!  Most of the time, I prefer to not add anything to take away from the delicate taste or it's elegant color.  My Champagne Kiss combines the flavors or true champagne with chocolate and strawberries, the perfect romantic combination!

Tip: Serve this elegant take on champagne with my Chocolate Pot de Crème for a truly decedent night!


Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Champagne (your favorite) - 1 bottle

  • Dark Chocolate - 6 pieces, ½-inch

  • Strawberries - 6, ½-inch sliced

  • Cocoa Powder - ¼ cup

Directions

  1. Pour the cocoa powder onto a small plate. On another small plate pour just enough water to coat the bottom of the plate. Place the rim of a champagne flute into the water then directly into the cocoa powder to cover each rim.

  2. Do this with all the champagne flutes.

  3. Place a piece of chocolate in the bottom of each champagne flute and fill with champagne. Top with a slice of strawberry.

I hope my Champagne Kiss has you seeing hearts this Valentine's Day!  XO

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