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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Thyme

Veggie Sliders

Marc J. Sievers

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This is a two-parter!  First, the Fresh Thyme Mayo was something I created back in 2011 for a TV show Ryan and I competed on for Food Network called Bobby’s Dinner Battle: Battle Chicago where three teams of two people cooked for Bobby Flay (he was in my kitchen!) and other judges for the title of Best Home Cook of Chicago.  This Mayo was a huge hit and ultimately helped us win!  Second, Ryan and I absolutely adore hotel bars — a favorite spot of ours is Gibson’s Chicago where Ryan orders the filet mignon sliders and a vodka martini (shaken, of course).  I am always a bit envious since I have yet to come across a vegetarian version in any bar.  But now I can re-create a similar atmosphere at home, vodka martini included!

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INGREDIENTS (Makes 6 sliders)

Fresh Thyme mayo:

  • Mayonnaise – ¼ cup

  • Dijon Mustard – 1 teaspoon

  • Thyme – ½ teaspoon, finely minced, fresh

  • Lemon Zest – ½ teaspoon

  • Lemon Juice – 1 tablespoon, freshly squeezed

  • Sea Salt – 1/8 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1/8 teaspoon, freshly cracked

INGREDIENTS

Veggie Sliders:

  • Cannellini Beans –1 can (15 ounces), drained and rinsed

  • Basil – 3 tablespoons, finely minced, fresh

  • Parsley – 3 tablespoons, finely minced, fresh, Italian flat-leaf variety recommended

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons, divided

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Red Onion – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Thyme – 1 teaspoon, finely minced, fresh

  • Rosemary – 1 teaspoon, finely minced, fresh

  • Oregano – ¾ teaspoon, dried, lightly crushed

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Red Pepper Flakes – ¼ teaspoon

  • Garlic – 3 cloves, finely minced

  • Dried Bread Crumbs - ⅓ cup, plus 1 tablespoon, plain variety

  • Egg – 1 extra-large, lightly beaten, at room temperature

  • Half and Half – 1 tablespoon

  • Parmesan Cheese – 3 tablespoons, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended

  • Pretzel Slider Buns – 6, split

  • Gruyere Cheese – ¾ cup, freshly grated, for topping

DIRECTIONS

Fresh Thyme Mayo:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients into a small bowl and mix until incorporated.

Veggie Sliders:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.  Place 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a small bowl.  Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a small food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the drained beans, basil, and parsley.  Pulse until the beans are almost smooth, but still have a bit of texture.  Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.

  3.  In a 10-inch sauté pan set over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the butter.  Once hot, add the red onions, thyme, rosemary, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft, stirring occasionally.

  4. Next, add the garlic and cook for another 60 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic. 

  5. Scrap the onion mixture and any remaining olive oil into the bean mixture.  Add the breadcrumbs, egg, half n half, and Parmesan cheese to the same bowl.  Using a fork, combine all of the ingredients being careful not to compact the mixture. 

  6. Using a 2 ¼-inch scoop, form 6 balls by lightly rolling the mixture between the palms of your hands.  Place each ball onto the prepared half sheet pan.

  7.  Bake for 10 minutes, then using a spatula, gently flatten each ball into a patty about 1 ½-inches thick.  Then brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the split buns, cut side down, onto the same sheet pan to toast as the patties finish baking. 

  8.  Return the half sheet pan to the oven and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.  

  9.  Assemble each slider with as much grated Gruyere and Fresh Thyme Mayo as desired, and serve hot. 

Tip: Aside from topping these with Gruyere cheese and my Fresh Thyme Mayo, they can be topped with caramelized onions and Roquefort cheese, Fontina and marinara sauce, or really almost any combination!  Just remember, this recipe does have heavy Italian-inspired flavors, so make sure to play up on that!

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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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Fig & Truffle Nibbles

Marc J. Sievers

During the holidays, time seems to be a luxury as everyone is preparing to entertain family and friends.  Over the years, I have hosted many holidays at home and have always strived to find the balance of not only being the host with the most, but also enjoy the day myself as a guest at my own party!

This elegant no-cook hors d’oeuvre couldn’t be easier, and perfectly showcases the delicate flavor of fresh figs.  My Fig & Truffle Nibbles allows guests to have a “little something” while sipping their favorite libation and catching up with one another, but not so much that they will be stuffed before dinner (and dessert!).

I like to serve these on little spoons (available online) for a little added flair, but you can also serve them in endive leaves, on a water cracker, or on a platter with cocktail picks.  Not only are these a fabulously luxurious hors d’oeuvre, but they are extremely satisfying for any festive gathering!


Fig & Truffle Nibbles

Ingredients (expand recipe as needed)

  • Fresh Figs - halved

  • Truffle-Balsamic Vinegar

  • Honey

  • Fleur de Sel

  • Black Pepper - freshly cracked

  • Fresh Thyme - whole leaves

Directions

  1. Simply drizzle small, even amounts of truffle vinegar and honey on the cut side of fresh figs. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh thyme leaves.

  2. Serve at room temperature.

Tip: These can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 hours.  Allow them to come to room temperature before serving. 

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Pumpkin & Apple Spread

Marc J. Sievers

I love filling my refrigerator with lots of fabulous preserves, tapenades, and spreads so I can be ready for a last-minute aperitif and nibble with a friend, neighbor, or even Ryan when I least expect it!  In this case, the newest addition to my refrigerator line-up is my Pumpkin & Apple Spread—an absolutely divine combination of savory and sweet flavors. 

Instead of going through the hassle of using fresh pumpkin, I used canned pumpkin purée instead.  Baking it for a few minutes helps to draw out some of the moisture, leaving you with a thick, luxurious, and spreadable base.  Once the warm purée is mixed with apples that have been sautéed in butter, brown sugar, and other autumn-inspired ingredients, the spread can then be used in so many ways.

My Pumpkin & Apple Spread is perfect for serving alongside cheeses or just piled high onto a cracker with some crème fraîche and fresh thyme leaves.  This brightly-colored spread is also wonderful in the morning on toasted brioche with butter, as a topping for pancakes, or stirred into a hot bowl of oatmeal (trust me, every one of those combinations is fabulous!).  Oh, and don’t forget to warm it up and serve it over your favorite ice cream!


Pumpkin & Apple Spread

Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

  • Pumpkin Purée – 1 can, 15 ounces (not pie filling)

  • Gala Apple – 1 medium, peeled, ½-inch diced

  • Golden Raisins – 1/3 cup

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Light Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoons

  • Cinnamon – ¼ teaspoon

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • White Pepper – ¼ teaspoon

  • Nutmeg – ⅛ teaspoon

  • Pure Maple Syrup – 1 tablespoon

  • Honey – 1 tablespoon

  • Vanilla – ½ teaspoon, pure extract

  • Black Pepper Water Crackers

  • Crème Fraîche – for garnish

  • Thyme Leaves – fresh, for garnish

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

  2. Spread the pumpkin purée in an even layer (about 9 x 13) onto the parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once hot add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, white pepper, and salt. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Transfer the apple mixture into a heat-proof bowl and add the cooked pumpkin, raisins, maple syrup, honey, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

  5. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Thyme & White Bean Soup

Marc J. Sievers

Soups are one of my favorite things to make, especially during the fall and winter months.  My Thyme & White Bean Soup with Freshly Parsley Pesto is an update to a classic.  It’s one of those soups that on a cool, crisp autumn day or chilly winter evening will instantly make you and your tummy feel warm and cozy!  Best of all the ingredients can be found at any local grocery store.  Eat well, laugh often, and share the love!


Watch my webisode of From My Kitchen to Yours - A Chic Autumn Lunch for a complete tutorial:


Thyme & White Bean Soup

Ingredients (serves 6 - 8)

  • Navy Beans – 1 pound, dry

  • Vegetable Stock – 6 cups, low-sodium

  • Olive Oil – ¼ cup

  • Yellow Onions – 4 cups, roughly chopped

  • Garlic – 10 cloves, minced

  • Thyme – 10 sprigs, fresh

  • Rosemary – 1 sprig, fresh

  • Bay Leaf – 1, dried

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 2½ teaspoons, freshly cracked

Directions

First Day

  1. Start by covering the beans with water by 1-inch. Allow them to soak in the refrigerator for 8 hours, or overnight.

Next Day

  1. Remove the beans and drain completely. Set aside.

  2. In a heavy bottomed pot set over medium-low heat, add the olive oil and onions. Cook for 18-20 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

  3. Using kitchen string, tie the rosemary and thyme sprigs together. Set aside.

  4. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

  5. Next, add the vegetable stock, drained beans, bay leaf, and herb bundle.

  6. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes until the beans are tender.

  7. Remove the bay leaf and herb bundle. Add the salt and pepper.

  8. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steal blade, process the soup until it becomes slightly smooth and thick, about 1-2 minutes.

  9. Serve hot. Allow each guest to drizzle with Fresh Parsley Pesto.

Tip: Serve this soup alongside my Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Boule.

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Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Marc J. Sievers

I am always looking for new ways to cook with and prepare one of my all-time favorite vegetables, butternut squash.  One of the best cooking methods (and easiest!) to prepare it is roasting.  The roasting process really brings out the sweet flavor and it also caramelizes it slightly while making the edges a bit crisp!  Because roasting happens at such a high temperature, roughly 425-450 degrees, it allows the cubes of squash to cook on the outside and still retain an “al dente” like texture inside, almost the consistency of a cubed potato you would find in soup.

While roasted butternut squash is fabulous by itself (right out of the oven), on salads, sandwiches, and in my Autumnal Risotto, I really wanted to showcase the delicious flavor in an all-time classic like lasagna!  My Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna is filled with other favorites like red peppers, fresh thyme, and the nutty flavor of Gruyere.  Don’t let the size of the pan fool you either!  This lasagna is as hearty as they come, layer after layer, bite by bite, it’s going to be a fabulous roller coater of flavor.  Tie up those apron strings, pour a glass of wine, and get cookin!  Happy yummy-ness!


Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Ingredients (serves 4 generously, or 6 accompanied with a salad)

  • Roasted Butternut Squash – 3 cups, recipe below

  • Red Pepper – 2 large, ½-inch diced

  • Yellow Onion – 1 large, ½-inch diced

  • Garlic – 5 cloves, finely minced

  • Thyme – 3 tablespoons, freshly minced

  • Nutmeg – ¾ teaspoon

  • Black pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Sea Salt – ¾ teaspoon

  • Flour – ½ cup, all-purpose

  • Butter – 12 tablespoons, unsalted, divided

  • Milk – 4 cups, whole

  • Olive Oil – 1 tablespoon

  • Gruyere – 1 cup, freshly grated

  • Parmesan – 1/2 cup, freshly grated

  • Mozzarella – ½ cup, shredded

  • Lasagna Noodles – ½ pound, no-cook variety

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish.

  2. In a large sauté pan heat 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Cook the onions and red peppers for 15 to 17 minutes or until tender and the edges are slightly golden brown. Add the garlic, thyme, and roasted butternut squash. Continue to cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Combine all three cheeses into a small bowl and set aside.

  4. In a small sauce pan bring the milk to a simmer and then set aside.

  5. In a large sauce pan melt 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of butter over low heat. Add the flour and continue to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.

  6. Pour the hot milk over the butter mixture. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Continue to cook for another 5 to 6 minutes until it becomes thick, stirring constantly with a whisk.

  7. To assemble the lasagna, coat the bottom of the baking dish moderately with white sauce. Arrange a layer of noodles to cover the bottom of the dish. Add 1/₃ of the sauce, 1/₃ of the butternut squash mixture, and 1/₃ of the cheeses. Repeat the process twice more. You will have a total of three layers of noodles with three layers butternut squash and cheese in-between.

  8. Place the baking dish onto a sheet pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot.

  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and serve hot.

Tip: The lasagna may be assembled 1 day in advance and kept in the refrigerator.  Allow the lasagna to sit out at room temperature for 1 hour before following baking instruction.


Roasted Butternut Squash

Ingredients (makes 3 - 4 cups)

  • Butternut Squash – 1 large, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch cubes

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt - 2 teaspoon2

  • Black Pepper - 2 teaspoon, freshly cracked

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

  2. In a large bowl toss the cubed squash with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  3. Place squash on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, toss the squash pieces with a spatula to ensure even roasting and browning. Remove from oven and let cool. The squash should be aromatic and lightly caramelized.

Tip: The roasted butternut squash can then be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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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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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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