Recipe Phone

While it's nice to have a stock of recipes in your head that you could recreate from memory, I haven't reached that point yet. Plus I love collecting new recipes and am constantly reading blogs, magazines, and scouring recipe sites for ideas. And in the last few months, I've also been using my iphone as a recipe search tool. There are so many great apps out there for cooking that I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you here. The reason being that the recipe you see below, our dinner last night, was found on an app. With a little bit of tweaking, and some smartphone magic (yes, I WOULD like to email myself the shopping list!), it took all of 5 minutes to find a delicious and exciting dinner.

10 great recipe apps

  1. Whole Foods Market Recipes - The source of our meal last night. You can search in a variety of ways, but best of all is there "special diets" option, which allows you to search for vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes, among others. A great way to use it is to enter in one ingredient. For example, I typed in "sausage" yesterday, and it came with a long list of recipes. I added 2 to my favorites list and ended up going with the one that I had most of the ingredients for at home. As far as the rest of the ingredients, you can pick and choose which go onto a shopping list, and then email it to yourself. Genius!
  2. Real Simple Recipes - no time to cook? - Mostly, the photos are gorgeous and the layout is beautiful. Again, you can email the shopping list and add recipes to favorites, both handy tools. I've found that most of their recipes center around meat, but the veggie options are great. Loving that they are all focused on time-savers.
  3. Good Food Healthy Recipes - Not only are there some great meal ideas in this app, they also give you great information on certain ingredients as well as instructional videos, in case you're not sure how to grill peppers, say. It includes a shopping list, a favorites list, and a timer - a nice bonus tool.
  4. How to Cook Everything - Well clearly I have thing for Mark Bittman, and this app is no exception. That huge book condensed into an app? Absolutely worth its weight in ££s or $$s.
  5. Epicurious - For the foodies out there and when you're feeling particularly adventurous in the kitchen. Most of the recipes are sourced from Bon Appetit magazine.
  6. Seasons - Tells you what's fresh this month, as well as TODAY. Helpful when you're trying to use more local and seasonal ingredients (which you should be).
  7. Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner - A really helpful app that's also fun to use. The recipes all come from that website we're probably all familiar with, but I find it especially good for simple and classic dishes that I'm not sure about how to make. In addition, they do have a good database of recipes for special diets, if you do a bit of searching.
  8. Jamie's Recipes - Unfortunately, you have to pay for the bulk of content on this app, but what comes with the free download is decent! I'm particularly fond of the curried sea bass with coconut rice. YUM.
  9. Vegweb's Vegan Recipe Finder - An absolutely essential website for vegetarian recipes. And now they've got this brilliant app. Excellent!
  10. Saf Recipe Box - Another great one for vegan recipes. Although can be a bit fussy, what with the recipes that require the use of a dehydrator, but if you're feeling a bit uninspired, have a look around this app for beauty and elegance in the form of vegan food!

Farro Pilaf with Sausage, Mushrooms, & Spinach

serves 4; adapted from whole foods market recipes app

The particulars:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups farro (spelt grain)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 small sausages (meat or vegetarian; for veggie, linda mccartney's are our fave)
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups brown or button mushrooms, halved or quartered
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 handfuls flat parsley leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the farro and toast for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and sizzling. Pour in the veg stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for about 40 minutes, or according to your packet's instructions. When cooked, they will be "al dente" - like harder chewy brown rice.
  2. Cook the sausages. If you are using frozen veggie sausages like us, then cook them separately under the broiler or grill. If using meat sausages, remove the casings, chop up the meat, and stir-fry them in a wok or skillet before beginning step 3.
  3. When the farro has about 15 minutes left to cook, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Heat the remaining oil in a skillet or wok (the same one as the meat sausages, if using) and cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more, then add the mushrooms. Heat through, stirring occasionally so as not to burn. If using veggie sausages, chop them up once cooked and add to the pan now. Cook for 5-6 minutes, then take off the heat and stir through the spinach leaves to wilt.
  4. Drain the cooked farro if necessary, then combine all the ingredients in the same pan, along with the chopped parsley, the oregano, and some salt and pepper. Stir well, then serve hot!