I’m not one to creatively toss food together; I need a recipe to follow. I have tried a few digital cookbooks on my iPhone but it just doesn’t work well (I just need a much bigger screen). Then my friends at DK Canada invited me to try their new Quick Cook ($5.99) cookbook app designed specifically for the iPad.
The nice thing about digital cookbooks over traditional cookbooks is the ability to search for a recipe based on your search criteria. I’m always looking for vegetarian ideas that might appeal to the whole family (cutting down on our meat consumption). By adding the Vegetarian recipe filter, the Quick Cook app just displayed recipe photos of dishes that were vegetarian. I narrowed my search even more by adding the filter Course: Main. Then I just scrolled through the images to see what appealed to me and came across the following recipe for Shepherdless Pie. We are big fans of traditional Shepherd’s Pie, so I was curious how this would taste.
DK Quick Cook App
Prep 15 mins, Cook 30 mins
Special equipment • food processor
1 1/2lb (675g) russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 tbsp butter, plus extra for dotting on top
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
3 carrots, finely chopped
7oz (200g) mushrooms, coarsely chopped
handful of fresh thyme sprigs, leaves picked (reserve some for garnish)
splash of soy sauce
1 x 15oz (425g) can aduki beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup hot vegetable stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- To make the topping, boil the potatoes in a saucepan of salted water for 15–20 minutes, or until soft. Drain the potatoes, then mash. Add the butter, and mash again. Set aside and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan over low heat. Add the onion, bay leaf, and a pinch of salt, and cook for 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Add the celery and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Pulse the mushrooms several times in a food processor—you want them finely chopped, but not mushy. Add these to the pan along with the thyme leaves and soy sauce, and cook for 5–10 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to release their juices. Add the aduki beans, and season well with salt and pepper. Pour in the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Scrape into a baking dish and top with the reserved mashed potatoes. Dot with butter, and bake until the topping is crisp and golden. Serve hot.
If you can’t find aduki beans, use drained canned lentils or even red kidney beans.
On the recipe page I was given a photo with quick details (serving size, prep and cook time and that it was a meal that was freezable. There was also a list of ingredients and instructions. I liked having everything on one page but I could bring up the ingredient and instruction page so that’s all I saw on screen.
Happy with this menu, I added it to My Menu and started a section on Vegetarian Dinners To Try. Then I added all the ingredients to My Shopping List and emailed the list to my phone. This was the best feature. I knew exactly what I needed to buy when I was at the store. I only wish the email was editable. By that I mean having the option to cross off items I’ve grabbed at the store. To get around this, I forwarded the email to myself and could delete the content in the forwarded note as I bought items.
The Shepherdless Pie dish only served 4 but it still worked out with my family of 5. Being able to adjust the serving sizes would be a nice feature. Another recipe I tried (Crepes with Peppers and Basil – which the kids loved) gave ingredients based on 2 servings. To ensure I bought enough when grocery shopping, I had to add the items to my grocery list twice. It worked by was a little inconvenient. Most recipes will probably be designed with my serving needs in mind so this probably won’t be much of an issue going forward, but it would have been a nice feature.
Oh and the actual dish itself? It was wonderful. I ended up substituting the beans for Kidney beans but it worked out fine. I found this dish reminicient of stuffing and the fact that the kids loved it has made it a standard meatless dish in our home.
You can get a copy of DK’s Quick Cook app from the iTunes store.
Photo: courtesy of DK Canada and the Quick Cook app. Recipe reprinted with permission.