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The lovely Jerusalem cookbook gave me the courage to throw caution to the wind and experiment with barberry. These tiny, tart but flavourful crimson dried berries are heaped with praise and sprinkled into numerous recipes throughout this acclaimed book.

Uncommonly delicious recipes don’t get any easier than this. If you have a rice cooker, you can wander off and take a bath as the Barberry Quinoa cooks itself. Or you can schlep your rice cooker fully loaded with the ingredients to your next potluck and plug it in to begin cooking 30 minutes before main course time. Voila! Don’t you look clever.

Barberry Quinoa

Barberry Quinoa

  • 2 c quinoa
  • 4 c water
  • 3/4 c finely minced red onion
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 T dried mixed fine herbs (optional-see store recommendation below)
  • 3 T each barberry, currants and sliced almonds
  • 2 T dried orange peels
  • 1 t Vegeta (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized pot or a rice cooker. Bring to a boil, then simmer until all the liquid is absorbed.

Barberry Quinoa Garnish

  • 2 t unsalted butter
  • 2 T chopped fresh dill
  • 2 T chopped mint
  • 1 orange, sliced as garnish

Barberry Quinoa

Add the butter, dill and mint to the hot cooked quinoa. Taste to adjust seasoning. Serve hot or warm. Garnish the platter with sliced oranges. Can be served on a bed of arugula that is lightly dressed with vinaigrette, and a side of roasted salmon. Serves 6-8.

Barberry Quinoa

Final notes:

  • The Jerusalem cookbook includes a recipe for peace. The authors, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, bridge the gap over their divided cultures through their love of food and their quest for a common understanding. Their wish is that food can act as a catalyst to bring people closer together. Amen.
  • L’italien is a touching spoof of a movie that exposes racism and the lengths people go to in order to fit in and succeed. It serves as a good reminder to self search for prejudice and to treat everyone with respect and fairness.
  • Wondering where to find the barberry, dried orange peel and dried mixed fine herbs? The Iranian Marché Alborz (6685 Rue St-Jacques, Montreal, 514-692-2049).  You’ll find wholesale priced, top quality, preservative-free foods and wonderful fresh nuts.
Iranian food market
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