If you are the owner of an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, this post is for you! I originally set out to tell you all about my favorite smart phone apps, but it turns out that my three favorites are only available for Apple products at this time. I hope they will create versions of these fun culinary apps for all of you other smart phone users in the future…
While I do savor a good cookbook, farmers markets and food blogs give me the greatest cooking inspiration. These things evolve with the seasons and guarantee fresh ideas at a great price. But sometimes, I just don’t have the inspiration or the knowledge to pull off something new and interesting. For those days I look to the incredibly amazing database that is the internet. An application is especially good because I can find a great recipe anywhere, like on my way to the grocery store, for example.
Here are my top three applications for dinner inpirations:
1. Epicurious Recipes & Shopping List App: currently available for iPhone and iPad, Free
The Epicurious app is great because not only can you do a regular keyword search, but you can search for recipes with all kinds of great categories like ingredient, type of cuisine, and season. There are also sponsored sections on the app’s home page that highlight great seasonal ideas and have sections for different skill levels. The most convenient part about this cool versatile app is that you can create a shopping list for your recipes which is divided up by the sections in the grocery store (dairy, produce, etc.). You may recognize the recipe above from my most recent post. And you can bet I made use of the shopping list and suggestions in the reviews as I was wandering through the store.
2. All Recipes Dinner Spinner: currently available for iPhone, Free
This is the application I suggest to friends who are less culinarily inclined, but it’s great for anyone. It’s perfect for those times when you have the same old ingredients in the fridge, but you’re not sure how you want to use them. With the dinner spinner, you select a type of dish, an ingredient, and the amount of time you want to spend cooking and you get a great list of recipes that fit your needs. The combination above returned 72 matches and there are tons more combinations you can try. The most fun and silly feature of this app is that you can spin the dinner spinner with just a flick of the wrist. I love that it utilizes that iPhone technology. (You can also spin it by touching the ‘Spin Categories’ button, if you’re so inclined.)
3. Ratio App: currently available for iPhone and iPod Touch, $4.99
This is actually the only app I have ever paid for on my iPhone. That’s how awesome I think it is. I also have Michael Ruhlman’s cookbook, Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, but I wanted the app too. This book and app could revolutionize the way you cook, if you let them. Ruhlman advocates for the kind of cooking that ditches recipes because behind every recipe is a ratio that, once understood, can be adapted to cook pretty much anything. I chose to include a picture of the ratio for cookies because they are the first thing I made using this technique. The app has tabs that not only give you the ratio, but details on how to assemble and adapt it and a calculator so that you can use any kind of measurement that makes you comfortable (cups, pounds, grams). This is truly one awesome and educational app.