aNewDomain.net—My favorite cookbooks are like old friends. Their stained and bent pages remind me of dinner parties past and brunches gone awry. But after testing the following cooking apps, I must say—the old friends on my bookshelf are starting to seem ancient.
1. Epicurious: Romano Risotto with Radishes
Epicurious is a highly functional cookbook app for Android, Apple iOS, Nook, Windows and Kindle Fire. It lets you search for recipes by ingredient, meal or course, cuisine, dietary consideration, dish type and season or occasion. It also generates shopping lists based on the recipes in your queue, which you can email to yourself for easy access at the market. As for the quality of recipes, I can’t speak to every dish, but Romano Risotto with Radishes turned out beautifully.
Here’s a photo of the finished risotto.
My favorite thing about this app is its active user community. This particular recipe had 10 reviews from around the world. Most were positive, but a few complained that the addition of peppery radish didn’t complement the risotto.
So, in an attempt to learn from those experiences, I sautéed the radishes and chives in brown butter before adding them to the rice. The results were wonderful. The combination of butter and heat mellowed the radishes’ signature bite and pulled the whole dish together.
2. Edible Communities Recipe Guide: Asparagus Barley Risotto
Edible is essentially a magazine app for iPad and iPhone. The interface is stunningly sleek but surprisingly unresponsive. Its fixed, vertical layout seems an odd choice for an app that’s supposed to be used in the kitchen. I tried positioning my tablet vertically on a horizontal stand to accommodate this quirk, which made for a precarious and unwieldy arrangement. Eventually I was forced to lay it flat on my kitchen table at an inconvenient distance from the stove.
Nevertheless, the recipe itself turned out beautifully. I followed the directions exactly and was pleasantly surprised by the results as you can see below.
The main thing in Edible’s favor is that for $6.99, it gives you access to a curated collection of fabulous recipes, as well as a six-issue, one-year subscription to Organic Gardening Magazine.
But if you’re looking for great sustainable recipes, you might as well just take out a subscription to your local Edible mag. Then at least you won’t have to worry about splattering hot butter all over your tablet.
3. Jamie’s Recipes: Tomato Risotto with Basil, Ricotta, and Pecorino
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make this recipe exactly according to instructions, since I somehow managed to leave the market without cherry tomatoes. But the recipe was so good, and the UI design so flexible and functional, that it didn’t matter anyway.
Bar none, this was the best app I tried. Jamie’s 20 Minute Meals for Android and Jamie’s Recipes for iOS are chock full of great dishes, but more importantly they make use of the interactive capabilities that differentiate apps from books. You can search by several different categories, download shopping lists, and even customize your ingredient list according to the number of people you’ll be serving. Best of all, each recipe is accompanied by gorgeous photographs and step-by-step instructions, which you can scroll through with your finger or by voice activation.
The basic app is free. You can subscribe to the service that sends you a new recipe collection every month. $2.99 for one month, 4.99 for three months, and 6.99 for 6 months.
Here’s a photo of my cutting board, accompanied by my horizontally propped-up tablet.
As much as I love Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, they really can’t compete with his namesake apps. The ability to not only read a recipe, but see it made step-by-step, personalize ingredient quantities, and watch videos to learn cooking techniques—these are things that I need as a tech consumer who loves to cook.
What are your favorite cooking apps? Leave me a comment! Let’s get the conversation going.
Madison Andrews is a writer, editor, and designer living in Austin, Texas. She is founder and editor of madskillsvocabulary.com. Email her at [email protected], find her on tumblr, or follow her @madskillsvocab.Tags: Downtime,Gadgets & Devices,Mobile Apps,Tech Culture