Cherry Salad with Goat Cheese

Cherry salad with goat cheese and walnuts from The Petite Gourmande, Ruth Barnes

February is national cherry month! When most people think of cherries they think dessert of course, but don’t overlook savory cherry dishes. My cherry salad with goat cheese is a colorful, easy start to any meal. It’s also perfect for a light lunch or even Sunday brunch.

From deep red to bright yellow, cherries are bursting with color, flavor, and nutritional benefits. On a recent visit to San Francisco, one of the local merchants had thousands of huge red and yellow cherries on display and I couldn’t resist!

I was very excited to bring them home to make not only desserts, but also this wonderful salad.

Cherry salad with goat cheese and walnuts from The Petite Gourmande, Ruth Barnes




3 cups red cherries, pitted

3 cups yellow cherries, pitted

4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

5 oz candied walnuts

10 oz mixed spring salad, rinsed and drained



4 TB olive oil

2 TB champagne vinegar

2 tsp honey

Salt and pepper to taste



1. Whisk together dressing ingredients and chill for 10 minutes.

2. In large mixing bowl combine salad greens, cherries, and dressing. Toss lightly to evenly coat salad.

3. Divide into four portions on individual serving plates.

4. Sprinkle goat cheese and walnut over each salad and serve immediately.

Happy cooking!
The Petite Gourmande
© 2018 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved


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Valentine Macarons

macarons 2

Valentine Macarons


Love is in the air, and these beautiful French delights, both heart-shaped and round, will make anyone feel like they are in Paris. They are both elegant and delicious, and can be made with different colors and fillers. Serves 15 or more


macarons 1The ingredients below are for one batch of macarons (either round or heart-shaped). For the second batch, repeat ingredients and follow same directions.


Ingredients: (for the macaron shells)

2 cups of confectioners sugar

1 cup ground almond meal

3 egg whites, room temperature

¼ cup granulated sugar

3-4 drops rose water

pink and red gel food coloring

gold edible sprinkles

miniature heart toppings

silicone macaron baking mat or double parchment paper

silicone heart-shaped baking mat

16 inch pastry bag

one number 12 decorating tip


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 colors and rose water and whisk on low to combine well.

6.  Gently fold the egg white mixture in batches into the almond meal mixture, taking the egg mixture from the middle and up while rotating the mixing bowl. Continue until all of the batter has been folded into the almond meal mixture and is thoroughly combined (about 30-40 folds), 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 into the end of the bag and twist the end.

9.  Place pastry bag, tip side down, into a tall cup to fill it easily.

10.  Fill pastry bag with macaron mixture.

11.  Twist top of pastry bag to close.

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

13.  If making heart-shaped macarons, pipe mixture onto heart-shaped figures on mat.

14.  Decorate macarons with sprinkles and mini hearts (or your choice of topping)


15. Tap baking tray 5 times on kitchen counter and fist punch gently the bottom of the baking tray to release the air bubbles from the macarons.

16. Let maracons stand for 20 minutes until the top of the shells are dry.

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

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

19.  For the filling, mix 2 cups of unsalted butter and 1 cup of confectioners sugar in a food processor with ¼ teaspoon of rose water and 4 drops of pink gel food coloring. Beat until soft and place into a pastry bag.

20.  Pipe onto half of the maracon shells and place a second shell on top.

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


macarons 2







The Petite Gourmande

© 2018 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

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A Valentine’s Day Raspberry Souffle

Raspberry Souffle Image

A Valentine’s Day Raspberry Souffle


Valentine’s Day is an extra special day to honor the people that we love. I think it’s important to honor them everyday and to tell them that you love them, but this is the perfect occasion to do something extra special. I love baking fun desserts on Valentine’s Day and surrounding myself with flowers. I owned two flower shops many years ago, and I still love flowers. I believe that no gesture (or bouquet of flowers) is too big or too small because it’s truly the thought that counts.

This recipe is a favorite of mine because I love raspberries, rosewater, and the color pink! This recipe is designed for cocottes or ramekins for individual servings. You can decorate it with raspberries, or anything else you like.

Raspberry Souffle Image



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Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese and Honey


In my back yard when I was a young child we had fig trees and one of the trees hung over the barn roof. When I came from school my friend and I would climb up the tree on to the roof and pick the figs. I used to bring as many as I could carry for my Mom because she loved to make jam, put them in salads, stuffed them, and baked with them.


Stuffed Figs with Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Honey




Serves 4 to 6


12 black mission figs

½ cup chopped pistachios (optional: walnuts or hazelnuts)

¼ cup honey

1 large baking dish

8 oz. goat cheese



Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Chop the pistachios finely

2. Mix pistachios with cheese

3. Rinse the figs and gently dry them

4. Quarter them, leave the base whole

5. Mix goat cheese and pistachios in a bowl

6. Make 1 inch balls of mixture (goat cheese and pistachios)

7. Stuff the figs with the mixture

8. Place them on a baking dish

9. Drizzle honey on them

10. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes

11. Serve warm or cold

Happy cooking!
The Petite Gourmande
© 2018 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved


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Spicy Carrot Soup with Ginger



M’rrq del Chijou

This bright and colorful soup has a light kick of ginger and cinnamon. If you have extra carrots, this is a great way to put them to use and get another serving of vegetables.




Serves 4 to 6


o   2 tablespoons olive oil

o   3 medium shallots, chopped

o   3 cloves garlic, chopped

o   1 teaspoon ground cumin

o   1 teaspoon sweet paprika

o   1 teaspoon ground ginger

o   ½ teaspoon cinnamon

o   ½ teaspoon turmeric

o   2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into quarters, plus extra carrots, shredded, for garnish

o   6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth

o   1 teaspoon salt

o   ½ teaspoon pepper

o   ½ bunch cilantro, chopped, for garnish



1.       In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat and sauté the shallots and garlic for 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

2.       Add the cumin, paprika, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, carrots, stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil.

3.       Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

4.       Remove the pan from the heat and allow the soup to cool, to avoid hot liquid spurting from the blender.

5.       Puree the mixture in a covered blender, in small batches, on low.

6.       Reheat the soup, place in serving bowls, and garnish with cilantro and shredded carrots.



Happy cooking!
The Petite Gourmande
© 2018 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved
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Chocolate Baklava


This is my own take on the classic Moroccan baklava. It’s a rich and decadent dessert with hazelnut, chocolate, orange blossom and honey. Perfect for entertaining. Serves 24





– 24 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if previously frozen

– 1 pound unsalted butter

– 1/2 cup unsalted, roasted hazelnuts, chopped finely for the garnish

The filling:

– 1 pound unsalted, roasted hazelnuts

– 2 tablespoons orange blossom water or rose water

– 2/3 cup sugar

– 1 pound semisweet mini chocolate chips

The syrup:

– 3/4 cup water

– 1 cup sugar

– Juice of 1/2 lemon

– 1 cup honey

– 3 tablespoons orange blossom water



1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Prepare the filling: combine the hazelnuts, orange blossom water, and sugar in a food processor and chop coarsely. Add in the chocolate and mix.

3. to clarify the butter, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat until it begins to boil. Skim the foam from the top and discard. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

4. Unwrap the phyllo dough and place in on a flat surface. While you are working with a phyllo sheet, keep the rest of the block covered with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.

5. Using a pastry brush, coat a medium baking dish with a small amount of melted butter.

6. Lay one sheet of the phyllo in the dish and brush it with butter. Cover with a second sheet and brush it with butter. repeat until you have a layer of 6 sheets. Spread a third of the nut mixture over the phyllo layer.

7. Repeat step 6 twice more and top with a final layer of phyllo.

8. Make 3 cuts across the dough, approximately 3 1/2 inches apart across the length, and 2 cuts that are 3 1/4 inches across the width. Cut diagonally across each square, making 24 individual pieces (or cut diagonally across the length and width to make diamond shapes).

9. Pour the remaining butter all over the pastry and bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees.

10. While the baklava is baking, prepare the syrup: combine the water, sugar, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove for the heat and stir in the honey and orange blossom water. Refrigerate until the baklava is ready.

11. When the baklava has finished baking, remove it from the oven and pour the cold syrup all over. Sprinkle pinches of hazelnuts on top of each piece.

12. Let it cool before serving.


Happy Cooking!

The Petite Gourmande

© 2018 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

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Baby Cheesecakes

Baby Cheesecakes from The Petite Gourmande

These wonderful baby cheesecakes are great for entertaining or a little individual treat for yourself with a cup of coffee. I use at least two different types of berries. Perfect for New Year’s Eve (they go great with a glass of bubbly!) or any special celebration, your guests will be delighted by the decadent individual portions on a fancy platter and will probably go back for seconds. Double the recipe if you want leftovers. :) Makes approximately 16 pieces


Baby Cheesecakes from The Petite Gourmande



For the crust

1½ cups graham cracker crumbs

2 sp granulated sugar

3 TB unsalted butter, melted

For the filling and topping

3 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp lemon zest

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 TB flour

½ pint each blackberries and raspberries or blueberries for the topping

1 small bag semi-sweet chocolate pieces (for decorative topping)



1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.

2. In a medium mixing bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter and mix well.

3. Place one heaping teaspoon of the graham cracker crumb mixture into each cup and flatten to bottom. Set aside.

4. In a standing mixer or using electric beaters, beat the cream cheese on medium low until soft and smooth. Reduce speed to low and add the sugar. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla and lemon zest and combine until smooth. Blend in flour and continue to mix on low until completely blended and smooth.

5. Place one scoop of cream cheese mixture into each muffin well, about ¼ cup in each. When all wells are filled, gently tamp tray to settle mixture and avoid air pockets.

6. Place tray in oven and bake for 25 minutes.

7. Remove from oven and let stand until cool, then refrigerate for 90 minutes.

8. Microwave 1 cup of the chocolate pieces in a microwave-safe cup for 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted.

9. Remove cup carefully from microwave and drizzle chocolate over cheesecakes.

10. Top each cheesecake with berries and serve.


Baby Cheesecakes by The Petite Gourmande

The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

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Crown Pork Roast with Stuffing and Peach Sauce


The Holiday season rings in bells of joy and warm wishes  for the upcoming new year.  This means time spent with family and friends, enjoying special dishes and sweets that bring smiles to all.  On Christmas each year our dear friends invite my family to their warm home to celebrate the holiday and I bring a beautiful crown roast as well as Christmas cookies for dessert.

May the light of Christmas shine down upon you and your family this holiday with blessings for a Happy and Healthy New Year

photo (10)

Crown Pork Roast with Stuffing and Peach Sauce

Serves 8-10


For the Roast

1 Crown Pork Rib Roast (10-12 ribs)

2 tablespoons of olive oil

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 14″ roasting pan

1 teaspoon oil for brushing

1 large piece of aluminum foil

For the Stuffing

1 10 oz box of herb seasoned stuffing

2 carrots cut into small cubes

2 stalks of celery cut into cubes

1 medium vidalia onion chopped

2 ambrosia apples (or 1 large red apple) cut into small cubes

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the Sauce

2 16oz bags of sliced frozen peaches thawed

1 10oz jar of peach preserves

1 tablespoon of butter

1 tablespoon of brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 cup of port or sweet sherry

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Prepare the stuffing according to the directions on the packaging and set aside.

3. In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and butter on medium heat and sauté the onions until they are soft and translucent.  Add carrots, celery and apple, season with salt and pepper and continue to sauté for an additional 7-10 minutes.  Remove  from heat and let it cool.

4. In a large mixing bowl combine the stuffing with the vegetables and mix well, set aside.

5. Brush the roasting pan with olive oil and rest the crown roast in the pan.

6. Rub the roast with olive oil, sprinkle the salt , pepper and sweet paprika evenly.

7. Fill the roast with the stuffing mixture ( the remaining stuffing can be served as a side dish).

8. Cover the tip of the bones and stuffing with the foil, place on middle rack of oven and cook for 20 minutes on 375.

9. Lower the oven temperature to 325, remove the foil and cook the roast for an additional 2 hours, or until the meat reaches a temperature of 150 degrees.

10. While the roast is in the oven begin making the peach sauce.

11. In a large sauté pan melt the butter, add the frozen peaches, brown sugar, and allspice.  Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the port to deglaze the pan.  Add the chicken broth and then return to heat.

12. Add the peach preserves mix well and then simmer on low heat for approximately 15-20 minutes, until the sauce reduces by half.

13. When the roast is ready remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes.

14. Carve the roast into chops and serve with the peach sauce and remaining stuffing.



Happy Holidays
The Petite Gourmande
© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved


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Italian Flag Cookies

Italian Flag Cookies

Italian Flag Cookies are fluffy and light and can be enjoyed with tea or as an afternoon treat.  These special cookies have just the right amount of sweetness and have almond paste as a main ingredient.



Italian Flag Cookies

Makes 24 cookies


2 cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 sticks of butter

2 – 8 ounce cans of almond paste

1 1/4 cup of sugar

5 eggs seperated

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 8 ounce jar of raspberry preserves

8-10 drops green food coloring

8-10 drops pink food coloring

8-10 drops yellow food coloring

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate melted

1 teaspoon almond extract



Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the almond paste, sugar,almond extract, butter, salt and egg yolks.  Mix until smooth.

2. Slowly add the flour and continue to mix until fully combined.

3. In a large bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

4. Gently fold the egg whites into the dough mixture and combine well.

5. Separate the dough into 3 equal parts and add one color selection to each.

6. Spread each section evenly into 9×13 baking pans and bake for 10 minutes.

7. Remove and let cool.

8. Begin building the layers, using the pink as your bottom.  Spread a layer of preserves on the pink layer and then place the yellow on top of it.  Again spread another layer of preserve jam and place the green layer on top of that.

9. In a small bowl melt the chocolate and spread a layer on top of your green layer and sides.  Scatter the chocolate sprinkles and place in the refrigerator for one hour to allow the chocolate to settle.

10. Gently flip the cake to expose the pink layer and spread chocolate on the bottom and refrigerate again for one hour.

11. Cut the cake to small squares or larger to your liking and serve.


Happy Holidays & Happy Cooking!

The Petite Gourmande

© 2017 by Ruth Barnes, all rights reserved

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