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January 2013 Cookbook of the Month: Jerusalem: A Cookbook

Our first book for the new year, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, is
"Jerusalem: A Cookbook." I have seen only "look inside this book" glimpses of "Jerusalem," but the reputation of the authors and their past books are rock solid assurances that everyone will be pleased with this choice --
and I really want to be right about that!
Here is the voting thread for this book:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/882214
Please join in the cooking this January, everyone is welcome to participate a little or a lot. I *think* the photo on the cover of this book is of a dish called "shakshuka" and it might be good dish to start with!
I'll put up threads for reviewing and reporting on tested and tasted recipes on January 1, 2013.
Thanks to everyone who nominated and voted -- it was a strong win for "Jerusalem" and I can't wait to see my copy.

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  1. In an amazing twist of fate, I am first on the list for one of my library system's copies of Jerusalem. Hope to get it next week! I lived in Israel years ago - looking forward to checking out the current food situation.

    1. Ah.... well then, I have to buy this book. I love love love the other two, but have been resisting. As I think about it, I don't really know why.

      So which version to get? Does the US version have weights in grams? Has anyone compared the two versions side by side?

      Very excited to cook from Jerusulem.

      38 Replies
      1. re: smtucker

        yes the US version has measurements in metric as well as cups and ounces.

        1. re: smtucker

          Now I might have to get the book too. Love the other two but have been resisting. I have even tried looking for barberries at the middle eastern shop. (But they don't have it). Do I need this? I was thinking to get Nigella Lawson's Kitchen, but maybe I should get Jerusalem. I am kind of afraid the recipes maybe too involved. I don't have much time to cook now.

          1. re: lilham

            the barberries may also be called zereshk in your store. they are small and look like currants - they are tart so if you sub currants you might want to add some lemon juice to the dish.

            1. re: jen kalb

              Thanks for the info. I'll try zereshk instead. And the currant one is a good tip. I might try soaking the currants in lemon juice as well.

              1. re: jen kalb

                Jen, where do you get barberries locally? I tried sahadis but no luck.

                1. re: Westminstress

                  Kalustyan's has them, but they're expensive. $10 for 3 ounces. That would be more than $6 worth of barberries in the lamb meatball dish alone. Haven't looked online, but probably not any cheaper with shipping charges. In the book he says you can substitute cranberries. Figuring that's what I'll do.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Look for a Persian supermarket, not just middle eastern - barberries appear to be very specific to Iranian cooking. $10 for three ounces is ludicrous. The Persian market where I bought mine (from a huge bulk bin) charged $5.99/lb, for comparison's sake.

                    1. re: geekmom

                      Wow! I always knew Kalustyan's was expensive, but that's usury. It looks as though there may be a couple of Persian markets in the Curry Hill area of Manhattan and I have to be in that neighborhood right after Christmas. I'll check them out.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        In the recipe for Fava Bean Kuku on p. 39 Ottolenghi notes that you can substitute "chopped dried sour cherries" for the barberries.

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          And then, in the recipe for Lamb Meatballs with Barberries, Yogurt, and Herbs, he says the barberries can be substituted with cranberries. (He doesn't mention chopping the cranberries.) I wonder if it's dish specific or if either will do. Curious about the barberries nonetheless. Will check out the Persian market when I'm in that nabe next week.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            You know, I'm thinking I may have seen dried cranberries (aka craisins) with lemon flavor added. No idea how or what this lemon flavor really is, but it might be worth looking into as a sub, at least for me.

                      2. re: geekmom

                        So yesterday I went to a very small Persian market, according to Yelp the only one in Manhattan, and the barberries were $8 for 3 ounces, $16 for half a pound. I figure they must be checking out the prices at Kalustyan's, about five or six blocks away, and charging just a tad less. So I'll get to try them in at least one dish, haven't yet decided which, and see if it's worth it. I was just in Vancouver, BC, a few months ago. Too bad I didn't know about barberries then. Probably couldn't have brought them back in anyway, could I?

                        1. re: JoanN

                          JoanN, there is a restaurant in Brooklyn called barberry - wonder if they could be a source of information for Middle Eastern shops.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Wow, that is truly astonishing how much they are charging. I'd definitely be using a substitute instead of paying that much for the barberries... they are yummy, but not so unusual in flavour that you can't just sub in cranberry & lemon or some such thing to get a similar result.

                            We have a very large Iranian population in Vancouver so I guess it's economies of scale & competition that keeps the prices low at the various Persian markets around town. (I did find one higher-end dried fruit and nut store run by a Persian family, which had both red and black barberries - the black ones were running $10.99/lb) Hunting down decent Mexican food, on the other hand, can be a real challenge here and I bet you are surrounded by great Mexican in NYC.

                            1. re: JoanN

                              That's unbelievably expensive. They're charging £2.25 for 4 oz in the Persian shop a couple of miles down the road. So a third of the price.

                              1. re: greedygirl

                                I just picked some up at my Persian market. CAD $2.49/100g (approx 3.5oz)

                                I'm glad I'd looked at photos of the berries in the book and online though as the shopkeeper only knew them by their Persian name of Zereshk. I thought I'd share that in case other folks run into this.

                                I also found Baharat which I was told translates into "Spice" The mixture of spices was referred to as "Seven Spices Plus" in this shop. The "plus" it seems is "cumin" which I was told is not included in a traditional Lebanese 7 Spice Mix. I paid CAD $1.99 for 3oz

                            2. re: geekmom

                              I found barberry powder at Russian market-made in Georgia-Tbilsi 1.75 oz $2.49
                              they also had sour cherries in a variety of products

                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                I tasted the ground berries- sour and not like cranberries

                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                    SUCCESS!!

                                    http://www.sadaf.com/Default.aspx

                                    barberries are used in Iranian Jewish recipes

                                    they even had barberry and sour cherry shoe leather

                              2. re: JoanN

                                If he says cranberries are ok, then I'd go that way (and it is a good tip for when I have the book). The nearest Persian market for me is about a 40 minute drive, and I'm not really up for that.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  :-) ... What would COTM be without substitutions?!

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    This recipe that was done on Turntable Kitchen says you can sub out currants for the barberries too. http://www.turntablekitchen.com/2012/...

                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      Good news there. I keep both currants and dried cranberries in my pantry.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Reading from the Wikipedia entry on barberries, I saw this:
                                        "In Europe for many centuries the berries were used for culinary purposes in ways comparable to how citrus peel might be used." So, it might be a stretch and create a different dish, but a grating of peel (lemon lime orange) might still have the acidity/tang/smack of flavor that you need.
                                        Maybe too far afield, but in some recipes OK.

                                        Edited to say I see geekmom in this thread has already mentioned lemon!

                                  2. re: JoanN

                                    If you decide to substitute cranberries, I'd suggest adding lemon zest to the recipe, or maybe squeezing some fresh lemon juice over the dish before serving so you can get as close as possible to the flavour profile. (I'd probably chop the cranberries too, since the barberries are a lot smaller). My friend's daughter was visiting when I made the chicken with caramelized onions & rice dish and she described the barberries as tasting like "if lemonade were a fruit, only not sweet."

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Just looked on amazon and it seems to be about the same price - $9.99 for .25 lb. This is for dried barberries - is that what the recipe calls for?

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        I found an online Persian grocer kalamala.com that charges $19.99/lb (yes, they are dried - that's what you want). They offer free shipping if you order more than $75. HTH

                                        1. re: geekmom

                                          In case I need $75 dollars worth of them ... too funny!

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            ;-) I figure they may have some other things for sale that would be useful for cooking from Jerusalem & hard to find for those who don't have easy access to ethnic grocery stores. Ottolenghi sure does seem to enjoy sending us on impossible hunts for obscure ingredients.

                                            1. re: geekmom

                                              At least one of the recipes (fava bean kuku) also suggests using dried sour cherries as a replacement. I'll check out my local Persian market, but if they don't carry the barberries, that's probably the route I'll go.

                                  3. re: jen kalb

                                    For those in LA, I just got barberries at Super Sun Market on Westwood - $10 for half a pound (and they didn't have any smaller packages). But since they're dried, I imagine they'll keep for a while.

                                    1. re: jen kalb

                                      For those in the greater Boston area, Sevan Bakery in Watertown has barberries. The smaller 3 oz size is $8. They are behind the cash register. Sevan also has date molasses in a small tub.

                                      I didn't check Arax since they open an hour later (9 am).

                                      ETA: 3 oz is a lot of barberries. They are much smaller then I thought they would be. I was picturing something dried cranberry sized.

                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        They must have been in collusion with my guys in Manhattan. Do you think we have a case for price fixing of barberries?

                                    2. re: lilham

                                      Dried cranberries, the kind that are widely available in supermarkets, are a good substitute for barberries. They have a similar sweet/tart flavour and look, but are a bit easier on the western palette. Barberries are a bit of an acquired taste, as they’re a bit tarter than we’re accustomed to. Cranberries can be coarsely chopped in a food processor to get them to the right size, if you feel their size matters for the recipe you’re making.

                                      1. re: Celena

                                        I quite enjoyed the zereskh on the first use in this recipe. its interesting to try new items, and, admitting what you say about ease of substitution, I think I might notice a cranberry flavor. Wondering, why do you think cranberries would be easier on the western palate?

                                  4. Hurrah! This will be great fun.

                                    1. Although I didn't vote for this one, I'm actually intrigued by this. I'm a somewhat beginner cook in terms of actually having to put dinner on the table every night (and have been getting bored), and I love middle eastern food, so hopefully this will get me "out of the box"!

                                      1. Hooray! I've jumped the gun and made my first recipe from this book tonight. I will have positive things to say when the threads go up.

                                        Thanks blue room, job well done!