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Recipes & Entertaining Ideas

Filtering by Tag: Vegetables

Fresh Herb and Vegetable Table Garland Table Garland

Marc J. Sievers


You know that I love flowers for entertaining, but there is something so earthy and elegant about a table garland made with fresh herbs and colorful vegetables! The markets in Paris are stocked full of fresh produce and it was the perfect inspiration for a table arrangement for a gathering of friends for the evening. The fact that everything can be bought from your favorite local grocery store or farm stand (or picked that day from your garden) makes this fabulous for an impromptu dinner party or just an innovative way to add some color to a regular weekday meal. This is so easy to arrange! I placed a small head of lettuce in a bowl with some water (to keep it crisp) and put some asparagus and herbs into simple water glasses. I rounded out the garland with gorgeous heirloom tomatoes in a basket and a beautiful head of radishes on a vintage silver tray. A show stopping baguette wreath was the finishing touch to bring a bit of Paris to the table!

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Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Marc J. Sievers


Asparagus is typically thought of as a side dish, but there is no reason that this hearty veggie can’t take center stage, any day of the week! My Asparagus with Poached Eggs is a sophisticated meal for lunch, dinner or even brunch for a hungry crowd. Bright and beautiful, this recipe is perfect for spring and is one to keep in mind as you hit your local farmer’s market! The “sauce” uses Boursin cheese and when thinned down, it makes for a luxurious cream sauce.  I give it extra flavor with fresh herbs. I love to serve this with toasted brioche or baguette, a green salad with my French Bistro Vinaigrette and a crisp glass of white wine.

Perplexed by poaching eggs? Don’t be! For this recipe, I used this genius method by Justin Chapple from Food & Wine magazine. It’s quick, easy and you will be an expert egg poacher before you know it!

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Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Ingredients (serves 6)

 Poached Eggs

  •  Eggs – 12, extra large, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked


  • Asparagus – 1 pound, ends trimmed

  • Olive Oil – 3 tablespoons

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked


  • Boursin Cheese – 5.2 ounce package, Garlic & Fine Herbs variety recommended

  • Lemon Zest – 2 teaspoons

  • Dill – 1 ½ tablespoon, roughly chopped, fresh

  • Parsley – 2 tablespoon, roughly chopped, Italian flat leaf variety, plus more for garnish

  • Scallions – 2 tablespoons, thinly sliced, white and green parts

  • Heavy Cream – ½ cup, at room temperature

  • Sea Salt – ¼ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ½ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Parmesan Cheese – 2 tablespoons, freshly grated, Parmigiano-Reggiano recommended


 Asparagus & Poached Eggs

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Fill each well of a standard muffin tin with 1 tablespoon of hot tap water.  Carefully crack an egg into each well.  Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

  2.  Place the trimmed asparagus onto a half sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.  Then add the tray of eggs and continue cooking for another 8 minutes, until the asparagus are tender and the eggs are set.

  Sauce & Assembly

  1. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, add all of the ingredients for the sauce, except for the Parmesan cheese.  Whisk until smooth.

  2.  Spread the sauce into an even layer on a large serving platter.

  3.  Once the asparagus and eggs are done, arrange the hot asparagus onto the serving platter. 

  4.  Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove each egg from the muffin tin and place on top of the asparagus.

  5.  Garnish with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and more salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Tip: I love having some smoked paprika or crushed red pepper flakes at the table. Guests can add a little extra flavor or heat!

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Warm Pear & Mustard Salad

Marc J. Sievers


Whether as a side dish or as the center of attention as an entrée, salads have long been a staple that is both easy and satisfying.  But have you ever considered making a warm salad with fruit?  My Warm Pear & Mustard Salad is an elegantly layered combination of sweet and tangy flavors and is hearty enough for the comfort food that we crave all year long! 

If you are looking for something a little out of the ordinary to serve at your next dinner party, this salad makes for an earthy presentation alongside my French Savory Tart.  Your guests will love the sharp kick of the Dijon mustard as well as being able to see the beautiful whole seeds from the whole grain mustard. I guarantee they will never look at salads the same way again!

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Warm Pear & Mustard Salad

Ingredients (serves 6) 

  • Baby Arugula – 3 cups

  • Stilton – 5 ounces, crumbled, at room temperature

  • *Baguette Croutons – recipe below

  • Olive Oil – 6 tablespoons

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Shallot – 1 medium, thinly sliced

  • Bosc Pears – 2 large, cored, 1-inch diced

  • Sea Salt – ½ teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¾ teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Tarragon – 2 tablespoons, whole leaves

  • Dijon Mustard – 2 teaspoons

  • Whole Grain Mustard – 2 teaspoons

  • Fleur de Sel – for garnish


  1. Arrange the arugula, stilton and croutons onto a large platter.  Set aside. 

  2. In a large sauté set over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter.  Once hot, add the shallots.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.   

  3. Next, add the pears, sea salt and pepper and continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, until the pears are tender. 

  4. Add the tarragon leaves and both mustards.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring carefully to incorporate the mustards into the oil but to not break up the pears.   

  5. Lastly, spoon the entire mixture over the arugula, stilton and croutons, including all of the olive oil.   

  6. Give the salad a gentle toss, sprinkle with Fleur de Sel and serve warm.

 *Baguette Croutons

Ingredients for Baguette Croutons 

  • Baguette – cut into 1-inch cubes, 3 cups

  • Butter – 2 tablespoons, unsalted

  • Sea Salt – 1/4 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – ¼ teaspoon, freshly cracked 

Directions for Baguette Croutons  

  1. In a medium sauté pan set over medium heat, add the butter.  Once melted, add the bread cubes, salt, and pepper. 

  2. Toast for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally, until lightly brown. 

  3. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

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Summertime Couscous

Marc J. Sievers

When farmers markets are in full swing I love making recipes that really highlight in-season vegetables!  My Summertime Couscous is filled with tomatoes, peppers, Persian cucumbers, and roasted artichoke hearts.  Then everything is dressed (fabulously!) with olive oil and lots of lemon juice and zest.

It’s fresh, simple, and always a crowd-pleaser.  The best part, it can be made a few days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.  Making it ahead of time actually helps all the flavors meld together, really flavoring everything perfectly!  Happy chopping!

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

Summertime Couscous

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Israeli Couscous – 8 ounces, cooked to package directions

  • Red Onion – ½ cup, finely diced

  • Orange Pepper – 1 medium, roughly chopped

  • Persian Cucumbers – 2 cups, roughly chopped

  • Grape Tomatoes – 1 cup, halved

  • Golden Raisins – ¾ cup

  • Pine Nuts – ½ cup, lightly toasted

  • Basil – ½ cup, fresh, roughly chopped

  • Dill – ¼ cup, fresh, minced

  • Lemon – 2 medium, zested and juiced

  • Sea Salt – 1 teaspoon

  • Black Pepper – 1 teaspoon, freshly cracked

  • Artichoke Hearts – 1 cup, canned or frozen (defrosted)

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons


  1. While the couscous is still warm, add all of the ingredients and stir until well combined. Serve at room temperature.

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Home-Style Rustic Tomato Sauce

Marc J. Sievers

It’s a cold and snowy day here in Chicago, which is the perfect weather to stay home and test recipes!  So many of my days are spent in the kitchen cooking and baking.  Because of the chill in the air, I am making my FAVORITE sauce, Home-Style Tuscan Tomato Sauce.

Using San Marzano tomato’s will really showcase the flavors of this dish.

I’m going to serve it over roasted baby brussels sprouts with big shavings of Parmesan cheese, perfect for a hearty but healthy dinner.  This particular sauce is bursting with fresh vegetables, basil and cinnamon, which adds a bit of “warmth” to the overall taste.  ENJOY!

Home-Style Rustic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients (makes 8 cups)

  • San Marzano Tomatoes – 3 (28-ounce) cans, crushed

  • Yellow Onion – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Red Onion – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Yellow Bell Pepper – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Red Bell Pepper – 1 small, ¼-inch diced

  • Garlic – 6 cloves, minced

  • Kosher Salt – 2 teaspoons

  • Black Pepper – 2 teaspoons

  • Olive Oil – 2 tablespoons

  • Butter – 1 tablespoon, unsalted

  • Cinnamon – ⅛ teaspoon

  • Basil – 2 cups, freshly chopped


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot.

  2. Add the onions, red and yellow bell peppers, salt, and black pepper to the hot pan and sauté over medium heat until translucent, or about 8 to 10 minutes.

  3. Next, add the garlic and cinnamon and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Stir in the tomatoes and basil and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

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