Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to Cook Everything App for iPads & iPhones

First, a confession... I was slow to get on board with iPads & iPhones for cooking purposes. Don't get me wrong, I love sitting in a coffee shop or even standing in a grocery store, for that matter, deciding on what to make for dinner and checking ingredients to see what ingredients I need.

But, I'm one of those cooks who 1) is messy and I like it that way, thank you very much. How else would I know which recipe I tried a year or two... or more... ago if it wasn't for the stains? and 2) How would I remember what I added/deleted/changed if I didn't make notes in the margins?

I've written about my dilemma before, and my Honey found me the cure for the stain issue - In a nutshell... place it in an over-sized ziplock baggie).

I love Mark Bittman and I since never did get a copy of the book How to Cook Everything, it was one of the first apps I bought for my new Apple iPad & iPhone. I have both versions, after all, what happens if I'm out at 4:30 PM with no plans for dinner, and no iPad or netbook computer close by. I've already written about my first experience,

His cooking style and easy to make, oh-so-flavorful recipes, translates so well to apps. So naturally I have to share more experiences with his new How To Cook Everything App for iPad & iPhones. Bottom line: I love it! Here's why in a story...

Recently, I went to the Halifax Seafood Farmers Market, as I usually do and stopped by Getaway Farm for some of their delicious grass fed beef - as I always do when at the market. They had already run out of my Honey's favorite - strip loin, so I bought a beautiful flank steak.

I have quite a number of flank steak recipes on my blog, but I wanted to see what I would find from my How to Cook Anything iPhone app... the finding a recipe and then the ingredients on my way home, and to see if it was as easy to use as I was told. In fact, while still at the market, I found 10 delicious looking options from stuffed flank steak to hot & sour soup, to fajitas and stir fries, but I settled on this one....

With the flick of a finger I found the ingredients listed - everything at home except for some fresh cilantro and Serrano chili peppers that weren't actually in the recipe, but I knew would be great.

One of the things I really love about Mark Bittman's recipes on his blog or NY Times columns and, holds true on this app is... be flexible. In fact the app has tabs to help you through the cooking process:
Recipe: ingredients and directions with a clear overview of the main ingredient - in this case flank steak. It's a "how to" of how to cook it, the type of meat, and other meat cuts should you not be able to find flank steak ( London Broil, sirloin, top round or skirt steak).

Variations: for this particular recipe "Marinated & Grilled or Broiled Flank Steak" he gives two delicious options - a salad with marinated Flank steak and Marinated Flank for Stir Fries - with basic tips and a link to a specific stir fry - Beef with Onions & Ginger that I will definitely have to try.

Related Content: And here's where this app really shines above the rest... it's a pictoral guide for beginner chefs. This time it's a tutorial on crushing and peeling garlic.

Notes: probably my favorite part of the app and definitely solves my dilemma about writing my own take on the recipe. It's a where you can type in your thoughts, ingredient additions - I added fresh cilantro and Serrano chili peppers, finely chopped) and any tips you might want to share... like what you served it with.

Here's another awesome recipe from the app...
...and although there's a recipe for making your own curry powders within the original recipe (I will be trying some one of these days), I actually used a blend of Sri Lankan Black & Singapore curry blends from Epices de Cru. .. and that's on my "notes" page too.

As you can see... I'm a huge fan of this app and it's well worth the $9.99 for the iPad and $4.99 for the iPhone (I actually have the free download for the iPhone - called "lite" which is great for my needs - finding a recipe while I'm out.

And how could I not share this with Alex at A Moderate Life for her Tackling Bittman & His Buddies Recipe Hop because although this is really about the app... it's all about the original cookbook, in a different format.

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