Moroccan Vegetable Salad


This is a traditional salad that is also served with meat dishes and falafel. The crispness of the cucumbers and onions blends wonderfully with the tenderness of the tomatoes and the refreshing lemon juice.

Serves 4 to 6




– 1 medium white onion, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

– 1 large, seedless English cucumber (or 3 Persian cucumbers), cut into 1/2-inch cubed

– 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

– 2 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– Juice of 1 lemon

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 1/2 teaspoon of pepper



1. In a mixing bowl, combine the onion, cucumber, bell pepper and tomatoes.

2. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

3. Serve chilled.




Happy Cooking!

The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Moroccan Ribs with Prunes and Apricots


Short ribs are cooked in every cuisine and in so many different ways.

This recipe has a little Moroccan twist to it with honey and dried fruits.

Serves 4-6







– 5 pounds of short ribs

– 1 large onion, chopped

– 2 carrots, chopped

– 1 cup dried apricots

– 1 cup dried prunes

– 4 garlic gloves, minced

– 3 cups low sodium beef stock (if needed add more)

– 1 cup of dry red wine

– 4 tablespoons olive oil

– 3 tablespoons of honey

– 2 tablespoons of cinnamon

– 1 teaspoon of ginger

– 1 teaspoon coriander

– 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

– 1 teaspoon baharat spice

– 1 tablespoon paprika

– salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven at 350.

2. In a small mixing bowl, combine cinnamon, ginger, coriander, ground cumin, baharat spice, and paprika. Mix well.

3. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the meat and rub the spice mixture on each piece.

4. In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil on a medium heat and brown the ribs in batches on all sides

5. Remove the ribs and set aside.

6. Add onion, carrots and garlic to the same Dutch oven and sauté until semi-soft.

7. Carefully deglaze with wine and with a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.

8. Put the ribs back in the pot and add apricots, prunes, honey and beef stock.

9. Cover and place in the oven and bake from 2 to 2 and a half hours till meat it tender to fork.

10. Serve with couscous.




The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fruit Tarts

fruit tart

These cute and colorful little gems bring joy to the entire table, adults and children alike. Around this time of year fruit is abundant but I like to make these all year long as there is always a different fruit or holiday available. Serves 6


fruit tart



For the Tart Crusts:

– 1 and ½ cups all-purpose flour

– ¼ teaspoon salt

– 1 and ½ sticks unsalted cold butter cut into small cubes

– yolk of one large egg

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar

– 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

– six small nonstick tart molds


For the Tart Crème Filling:

– 2 cups milk

– 2/3 cup sugar

– 3 tablespoons cornstarch

– 4 egg yolks

– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

– One medium orange, peeled and broken into sections

– 1 pint blueberries

– 1 pint raspberries

– 1 pint strawberries

– 1 small pineapple, cored and sliced into rings

– 1 small jar orange preserves

– 1 tablespoon of orange juice



For the Tart Shells:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and butter and pulse until mixture resembles course meal.

3.  Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and orange juice and continue pulsing until dough holds together.

4.  Place the dough onto a working surface. Sprinkle some flour onto the dough  and shape it into a disc.

5.  Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hours.

6.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut into 6 equal pieces.

7.  Roll each piece into a flat circle with a rolling pin.

8.  Place circle into tart mold and press the dough to the side of the mold. Trim the excess dough.

9.  Prick bottom of shell with a fork.

10.  Place molds into freezer for 15-20 minutes (to prevent dough from shrinking while baking).

11.  Remove molds from freezer and place molds on baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden.

12.  Transfer molds to wire rack and let cool.


For the Filling:

1.  In a saucepan, bring milk to simmer on medium heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes.

2.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornstarch, sugar, salt, and egg yolk. Mix well.

3.  Add milk and whisk together for several minutes until smooth.

4. Bring mixture back into saucepan, mixing constantly until sauce has thickened (about 3 minutes).

5.  Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla and whisk until combined well. Let stand until cool. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6.  Fill tart shells with filling.

7.  Decorate each with different fruit or combination of fruits.

8.  In small saucepan, warm orange preserve to make a glaze. Brush fruit with glaze and serve.

Happy Cooking!


© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Grilled Artichoke with Aioli Dip


Artichoke is a unique vegetable that is very versatile. It can be grilled, boiled, or stuffed and served in many ways. Aioli is a classic pairing with artichokes and a real culinary staple.



– 4 artichokes

– 2 large lemons

– 3 tablespoons of olive oil

– salt and pepper to taste


1.  Rinse the artichoke and cut into halves.

2.  With a large spoon remove the choke and discard.

3.  Trim the stem or remove (optional).

4.  In a large pot add artichokes, two lemon halves, and water and bring to boil for 20 minutes until artichokes are tender.

5.  Preheat the grill on medium – high.

6.  Remove the artichokes from the boiling water.

7.  Brush them with olive oil.

8.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

9.  Place artichokes on grill and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side.

10. Remove and place on serving platter.

11. Sprinkle parsley and serve with aioli and lemon slices.

Aioli  Dip


– 1 cup of mayonnaise

– 4 clove minced garlic

– 2 table lemon juice

– 1 Teaspoon chopped parsley

– Salt and pepper to taste


1.  In a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix well.

2.  Place in a small ramequin and serve with artichokes.


photoHappy Cooking!



The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Banana Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

banana macarons

Macarons come in a rainbow of colors and flavors. These tropical banana macarons are filled with a rich chocolate ganache. One of my trips to the Caribbean inspired me to make these banana macarons.

Serves 18

banana macarons



Ingredients for the macaron shells

–  1 3/4 cups of confectioners sugar

–  1 cup ground almond meal

–  3 extra large eggs, room temperature

–  ¼ cup granulated sugar

–  3-4 drops banana extract

–  3 drops yellow food color gel

–  gold edible sprinkles

–  silicone macaron baking mat or double parchment paper

–  16 inch pastry bag

–  one number 12 decorating tip

Ingredients for the chocolate ganache filling

– 8 ounces bitter chocolate (or chocolate of your choice)

– ½ cup heavy whipping cream

– 2 teaspoons unsalted butter

– 16 ounce piping bag

– No. 2 piping tip


Directions for the shells

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2.  Sift the almond meal and confectioners sugar into a mixing bowl or blend in a food processor until finely ground. Set aside.

3. Beat the egg whites in a mixmaster with a whisk attachment on medium speed until the mixture is foamy and soft peaks.

4.  Gradually add the granulated sugar to the egg whites and mix on high until the egg mixture is glossy and stiff peaks.

5.  Add the food color and banana extract and whisk on low to combine well.

6.  Gently fold half of the egg white mixture into the almond meal mixture, taking the egg mixture from the middle and up. Continue until all of the egg mixture has been folded into the almond meal mixture and is thoroughly combined (about 30), but not too runny or overmixed.

7.  Place silicone mat or parchment paper onto a baking tray.

8.  Cut tip of pastry bag, place number 12 decorating tip onto end of bag, and twist end to prevent batter from leaking while bag is being filled.

9.  Place pastry bag, tip side down, into a tall cup.

10.  Fill pastry bag with macaron mixture.

11.  Twist top of pastry bag to close.

12.  Untwist the end of the bag with the decorating tip.

13. Pipe 1 and 1/2 inch circles onto silicone mat or parchment paper until all mixture is used.

14. Decorate macarons with gold sprinkles (optional)

15. Let maracons stand for 30 minutes until the top of the shells form a thin skin on the surface.

16.  Place macarons on middle rack of the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

17.  Remove from oven and let stand for one hour.

Directions for the filling

1.  Place chopped chocolate and the butter into a mixing bowl.

2.  In a saucepan, warm the whipping cream on medium heat and remove before it boils.

3.  Immediately pour cream mixture onto the chocolate and butter.

4.  Let sit until chocolate melts.

5.  With a whisk, mix well and let ganache cool.

6.  Place mixture in refrigerator and chill for one hour.

7.  Put piping tip number 2 onto piping bag and fill with ganache.

8.  Pipe ganache onto half of the maracon shells and place remaining shells on top.

9.  Remove macarons from tray and place on decorative plate.

10.  Server with tropical beverage of your choice.


banana macarons2


The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Seafood Paella


Paella has its origins in Valencia, Spain, where it was made with rice, vegetables, and a protein such as chicken or seafood. This is one of my favorites, it’s perfect for a warm spring night with a large family or a lot of friends. There are many variations for this wonderful dish. Mine uses short-grain rice with vegetables, shellfish, chorizo sausage, and saffron. Paella is traditionally served family style.

Serves 6 to 8. 










–   12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

–   2 pounds mussels, scrubbed and with beards removed

–   2 pounds medium clams, washed

–   1 pound chorizo sausage cut into ½ inch rings

–   2 cups short grain rice (bomba or arborio)

–   2 pinches of saffron

–    1 16 ounce bag frozen peas and carrots

–   1 large yellow onion, chopped

–   4 corn cobs carefully cut into quarters (optional)

–   4 garlic cloves, chopped

–   2 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into strips

–   4 cups seafood or low sodium chicken stock

–   1 box mixed baby heirloom tomatoes, cut into halves

–  4 tablespoons olive oil

–   salt and pepper to taste



1.  Heat olive oil in large paella pan on medium heat and sauté onion, pepper, and garlic until onion and pepper are tender.

2.  With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a plate.

3. In same pan, add olive oil if needed and saute chorizo and tomatoes for 2-3 minutes. Do not remove from pan.

4.  Add the garlic, onion, pepper strips back into the pan.

5.  Add the stock, rice, peas and carrots, saffron, salt and pepper to the pan and bring to a boil.

6.  Lower heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.

7.  Place shrimps, mussels, clams, and corn on top of rice mixture and cook for additional 10 minutes.

8.  Discard mussels and clams which have not opened.

9.  Place the rice mixture on a serving platter with seafood on top.

paella small


© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Crème Brûlée

Creme Brulee topped with raspberries, a recipe by Ruth Barnes, The Petite Gourmande

Crème Brûlée is one of those classic desserts you find on many a restaurant menu. It never goes out of style and is the perfect ending to a meal, no matter the occasion. The elegant dessert can be made with a variety of flavors, and even toppings. The recipes is for creamy vanilla, which can be served warm or cold. Makes six servings. 

Creme Brulee topped with raspberries, a recipe by Ruth Barnes, The Petite Gourmande


6 egg yolks

2 cups heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup granulated sugar, with additional 6 tsp reserved for topping

½ pint berries


6 crème brulee dishes (or ramekins)

Cooking torch


1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. Pour cream into saucepan. Add vanilla, lightly whisk mixture and cook on low heat until hot.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Add sugar and continue to mix until sugar is melted.

4. Slowly stir the milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Strain the egg cream through a fine sieve.

5. Place ramekins into deep baking tray. Fill each ramekin with mixture.

6. Carefully pour hot water into bottom of baking tray until it reaches halfway up the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes.

7. Remove ramekins from oven and place on cooling rack. Let ramekins cool completely. Cover ramekins with plastic wrap and chill ramekins in refrigerator for two hours.

8. Once chilled, sprinkle one teaspoon of sugar onto top of each serving. Holding torch 3-4 inches above the ramekin, caramelize top of each serving until golden brown.

9. Serve each with garnish of berries of your choice.

Creme Brulee topped with raspberries, a recipe by Ruth Barnes, The Petite Gourmande



Happy Mother’s Day!

The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Mother’s Day Brunch


Celebrating Mother’s Day with family is truly a wonderful privilege.  On this day we take the opportunity to show our moms how important and special they are to us and shower them with a large serving of unconditional love.




Comfort, warmth, and care are some of the words that come to mind when I think of my mother, and these two dishes encompass those wonderful feelings.  Salmon Lasagna is both comforting and delicious, with wonderful hints of lemon flavor.  The chocolate lava cake is warm, gooey and sweet on the inside, a dessert that is sure to put a smile on your face, just like mom.






Mother’s Day Salmon and Spinach Lasagna

Serves 6-8



1-16 ounce box of lasagna

1- 32 ounce container of ricotta cheese

3 tbsp unsalted butter for sauteing the onion and spinach

2 pound skinless salmon fillet

1 large onion chopped

6 garlic cloves minced

2-16 ounce bags of frozen spinach

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

2 eggs

1- 8 ounce bag of shredded mozzarella

1/2 bunch of parsley chopped

1 bottle of white cooking wine (optional)

1 lemon, juiced

salt and pepper to taste

9×13 baking dish

non stick cooking spray


For Sauce:

5 tbsp flour

5 tablespoon butter

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste



Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

1. In a large pot bring water and salt to a boil.  Add the noodles and cook according to the directions on the box.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

2. Defrost the spinach, drain of excess water and set aside.

3. In a medium sauté pan melt the 3 tablespoons of butter, and sauté the onion for 4 minutes or until tender.  Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.  Then add the spinach, season with salt and pepper to taste and combine well.  Continue cooking for another 3 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.

4. In a medium pot add 4 cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of white wine (optional), and juice of one whole lemon.  Bring to a boil.

5. Reduce heat, and add the fish and simmer for 10 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork.  Remove the fish from pot and let cool.  Flake the fish, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

6. In a medium bowl mix the ricotta, eggs, and Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

7. For the béchamel sauce melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Then add the flour and constantly whisk.  Season with salt and pepper, slowly add the heavy cream and continue whisking.  Then add the nutmeg and whisk until sauce thickens and becomes smooth.

8. Spray the baking dish thoroughly, covering the bottom and sides.  Spread 3 tablespoons of sauce so that the pasta will not stick.  Spread 3 pieces of lasagna noodles on the bottom of the dish.  Then layer 1/2 cup of spinach over the noodles.  Next, layer 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture over the spinach.  Then layer a 1/2 cup of the flaked fish.  Lastly, add a 1/4 cup of the sauce and spread it evenly over the fish.  Repeat the process until you have 12 layers.

9. The last layer, which will be your top layer, you will end with only lasagna noodles.  Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

10. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is golden.








Mother’s Day Chocolate Lava Cake

Makes 8 cakes



10 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 tbsp all purpose flour

1 1/4 stick unsalted butter

4 whole eggs ,plus 4 yolks

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

baking spray for greasing

2 tbsp powdered sugar

assorted berries

8 -5 ounce ramekins



Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees

1. In a double boiler set on low heat melt the chocolate and the butter, mixing frequently, until smooth.  Set aside and let cool.

2. In a bowl whisk the whole eggs, and in a separate bowl whisk the yolks.

3. Pour the sugar into the chocolate mixture and combine well.

4. Add the flour, vanilla, the eggs and yolks to the chocolate mixture.  With a hand mixer on medium speed mix until fully combined.

5. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and spray with the non stick baking spray.

6. Fill the ramekins 3/4 full with the chocolate mixture.

7. Place the baking tray in the oven on the center rack and bake for 12-14 minutes.

8. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

9. Flip each ramekin over onto individual plates, dust with powdered sugar and decorate with your favorite berries.

mother's day tea


Lets raise a glass, to all the moms of the world who provide unconditional love and endless support, and wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day!


The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved






facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Mini Broccoli Soufflé


Broccoli soufflés are perfect for Mother’s Day. These little gems are packed with nutrition and are light and fluffy. I put them in individual ramekins so that each person gets their own soufflé. They are a delightful side dish to whatever main course you are making!

Serves 6





2 packages frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted

6 large eggs

1 tsp garlic powder

1 large sweet onion, chopped

2 TB olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Nonstick cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Saute onion in olive oil on medium heat and cook until translucent. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Beat eggs in a mixing bowl and stir in broccoli and onion.

4. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and mix well.

5. Coat six ramekins with cooking spray and fill ¾ full with broccoli mixture.

6. Place on baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

7. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Fennel and Blood Orange Salad

fennel and blood orange

Fennel root must be sliced very thin as it tends to be dense and fibrous. Slicing it thin also brings out its wonderful licorice flavor, which is used for the base of some liquors. The blood oranges add a citrusy and vibrant contrast. Serves 4

fennel and blood orange


– Large fennel bulb

– Blood (or navel) oranges

– 2 tablespoons orange blossom water

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

– 1 small red onion, sliced thin

– 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

– Juice of 1/2 lemon

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 teaspoon pepper



1. Cut the fennel in half lengthwise. Discard the stems and core, and slice the bulb thin.

2. Cut a slice from each end of the oranges so they will stand on the cutting board while you peel them. Remove the peel with a small knife, taking care to cut away the bitter white pith. Slice the orange flesh into 1/4-inch wheels.

3. In a large bowl, combine the fennel, orange blossom water, olive oil, onion, parsley, and lemon juice. Season with the salt and pepper, and mix well.

4. On a serving platter, overlap the oranges in one or more rows and scatter the fennel mixture with its juice on top of them.

5. Chill before serving.



The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved


facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailfacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailby feather
« Older Entries