Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cooking With An iPad. Sweet Potato Coconut Soup iOS 5

   I am a geek. Yes I am. Truly. My geek credentials were not immediately evident since I started out as many do as a total Luddite when it came to computers. This was way back in the big hair days of the shoulder padded '80's (in my case a duo-toned, modified mohawk or a very very short early Annie Lennox Eurythmics look.) The days of leg warmers and neon colored sweat bands, (in my case all black Issey Miyaki.) The days when the personal computer first reared it's head.
   As a professional writer, the computer scared the shit out of me. Alan and I liked to write in long hand on yellow legal pads. Every 20 pages we'd go to our respective typewriters and translate everything to the typewritten page. When the script was done, we'd take those pages to a professional typist that the studio paid for. She would type the script up and the studio would send a messenger to the house to pick up the manuscript.
   This wasn't the most efficient way of doing things. Sometimes we were late. Then I would cajole the delivery guy with offers of cookies, tea, hard liquor, anything to keep him busy while we made last minute corrections. Remember, since we were not working for the Pentagon, there was NO INTERNET at this time. Stuff was copied, and hand delivered.
   This could also be tricky if we happened to be finishing a piece of work while we were at our place in Sonoma. Then we had to chase the Fedex truck which stopped in our tiny town once a day at 3:30 precisely. If we missed it, we had to follow it to Petaluma and try and catch it there, or Santa Rosa. Sometimes we missed it all together.
   Finally  after sending a secretary to our house to cut and paste a draft together, the studio we were working for put their foot down. We MUST get a computer. No ifs ands or buts. And so we did. After hearing from all our fellow writer friends who were going the computer route at the time, we decided on an Apple Macintosh. We still have two of them in the garage. They look like little breadboxes. When plugged in (we tried this about 6 months ago) they made a soft girrrrring sound, churned a bit and then we got scared and unplugged them. They held a mighty 128K memory (impressive at the time) we were hooked.
   That is Alan was hooked. I was a Luddite remember.
    At that point, the biggest fight we ever had in our married lives (up til the French fry incident) was in the computer store the day we bought the damn Mac. I hate to admit this now but I wound up in tears storming out of the store. "Let your Mac drive you home!" I was "absofuckinloutely never never never ever ever ever going to write on that machine!" I was a freakin' artitste!
 If "that thing" was going to be brought into the house, it would be something like "over my dead body" or words to that effect. I wanted to keep using the little aqua portable Olivetti that I'd had since college. I told Alan that if he still insisted on buying that "thing", then he would be the only one to touch it. I refused. I would cook the meals, he could do all the "entering". That was the deal and I was sticking to it.
   Well, that didn't last. Sooner rather than later I became intrigued. I learned to write some code and as soon as the internet came along I was totally and completely on board. I have been joined at the hip to any Apple product I could get my mitts on ever since. So much for Luddites. I cannot get wired up enough.

  So when I got an email from Jake over at  the new app Appetites offering me a free download and test drive, I was at "yes!" instantly. Especially since this app features recipes from some of my food blogger  friends like Fujimama. I remember back when she wrote about  filming these little recipe clips and wondering what it was all about. Now I know. What it's about is pretty damn amazing.
   The way it works is the app is downloaded for 99 cents...All of a sudden all these friendly chefs are talking to you, telling you about their food, why they cook the things they do and why you'd like to make these dishes. Then the fun begins. With the first download comes a Starter Pack of 30 recipe videos. 30 short, step by step walk-throughs of 30 great recipes. There's something for everyone. It's advertised as the cookbook of the future. Damn straight it is. It's the damn Daily Prophet of Cookbooks is what it is.

 This thing comes alive, only without Lord Voldemort.
    I frequently take my iPad into the kitchen with me when I  cook. I prop it up, open to my own web page and look up which of my recipes I'm working on. Of course I  have to keep looking back at the page 'cause I'm not all Harry Pottered' up in there, unlike Appetites.
    Here's the cool part... I picked a recipe, assembled my ingredients and got to work. I'm cooking away and then I notice someone is talking to me, telling me what to do next and I'm not even pawing my iPad with my greasy, messy fingers. It's like having a tiny Mario Batalli in your ear, except actually possible and a whole lot less kinky. I loved it.
  But how's the food you ask? So far, I've fixed one recipe, Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup. I chose that one because I had all the ingredients at hand, and since we're under work pressure, it worked for me.

Sweet Potato Coconut Soup

Here's what they told me to do:
Peel and dice 2 Sweet Potatoes...(note: the soup in the Appetites picture is bright orange. Sweet potatoes are not orange, yams are orange, yet the recipe called for sweet potatoes, and so I bought sweet potatoes. In my market what is in the Appetites picture are called yams. Maybe it's a regional thing I don't know.)
Put the sweet potatoes into a large soup pot along with:
  The grated zest of 1 lime (save the juice)

  1  Peeled and diced onion
  A 1 inch square of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  2 small cloves of garlic, chopped
  1 jalepeno, seeded and finely chopped
 1 small bunch of chopped fresh cilantro
 Add in:
  4 cups of chicken broth
  1 can of coconut milk
  The juice of 1 lime
 Salt to taste.
 Turn up the heat and bring everything to a strong boil.

  When the soup is boiling, slap a  lid on things, turn the heat down to a lively simmer and let it all cook for about 25 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through.
 Place the soup in a food processor, a blender or use an immersion blender as I did. Puree it to a nice creamy consistency.
 Check the seasoning and serve it up.
  Garnish it with a couple of thin slices of the jalepeno that was not used in cooking.

  The soup was delicious, rich and creamy with Thai flavors, perfect for a chilly early Autumn evening in wine country.

   I absolutely loved this App! Would I buy it on my own? Yes. the recipes are easy, accessible, and it's fun to cook along with someone else. Kitchens can sometimes be a lonely place on a harried weekday evening and it's great to hear a friendly voice chopping along with you. And if you ever said you would never ever never ever cook with your iPad...think again.
   So what else is going on around here? Besides New Roofapalooza Day 3?! Alan's cousin is coming up from Berkeley, so a feast is in order for this weekend and I'm going to be whipping up some gluten free, sweet treats in honor of the Indian  Diwali Festival which is fast approaching. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

 Update: Appetites App is entry priced right now at .99 cents, soon to be going up to 4.99 (still a deal) another reason to snap it up now! 


  1. This looks deliciously creamy!

  2. This looks so great, it is a combo of all my favorite things!

  3. From long hand to iPad...impressive. Clearlyyour cooking still rocks.

  4. nice creamy soup...and waiting for ur diwali treats...

  5. Soup does look delicious,..luv the flavors in it,..

  6. This must taste amazing! What a great mix of ingredients!

  7. ROFLMAO Big Hair, I so remember those days, what fun!!

    Kathy this soup looks superb and I do believe even an Indian food illiterate like myself could prepare this :)

    I enjoy being a geek too and have my kids thank for my geekness... someone had to watch what they were doing online!

    Have a great weekend.

  8. I love my iPad! Some have said I'll have it surgically removed some day...

    Appetites sounds like a great app. Have you tried Paprika? It's my current favorite—no recipes of its own, it allows you to capture online recipes (or input your own). I use it all the time now, together. There are some great iPad stands for the kitchen.I just bought a Stabile Pro and I love it.



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