Pepperplate: Your New Kitchen Companion

If you like collecting recipes like Ash Ketchum collected Pokemon, you’ve probably already turned to your iPad as your kitchen companion. It’s a great way to browse and view all of those recipes that only live on the internet while you’re doing the important business of cooking.

Sure, you could just open up a lot of bookmarked tabs or have some text files saved to Dropbox, but there’s surely a better way to organize all of those recipes. I’m taking a look at Pepperplate to see if it can be that better way and whether it has the features to make a great sous-chef.

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What’s Cooking?

You’ll need a Pepperplate account, and it’s probably a good idea to already have some recipes squirreled away at the Pepperplate website. Once everything is synced up, all of your saved recipes will be listed on your iPad. Sort your recipes by title or newest, which makes it easy to find whatever you’ve added to Pepperplate most recently. The filter function will really narrow everything down, especially if you’ve got a bunch of recipes. Find recipes in specific categories or just look for your favorites you make the most.

You recipe list can be sorted a few different ways.

You recipe list can be sorted a few different ways.

Find your recipe, and tap it to check out the ingredients and instructions. Across the top, Pepperplate will display an enlarged thumbnail image of the finished product and give you an idea of the total prep and cooking time and how many servings you can expect at the end. Along the left you’ll find the ingredients list, and Pepperplate will automatically scale this up and down. That means if you’re making a double batch or only cooking for one, Pepperplate will take care of adjusting all of your measurements, so you don’t end up with double the amount of cumin or only half as much water as you really needed.

When you’re ready to get going, tap Cook Now, and Pepperplate will open your recipe in a distraction free window. Your scaled measurements will be intact, if that’s something you’re using. There’s a handy timer in the upper right with common times preprogrammed, and you can have two timers going at once, a huge help in the kitchen. When you’re done, tap Finish Cooking or Back to Recipes.

Adjust measurements and get cooking.

Adjust measurements and get cooking.

Back in your recipe, tap Edit to change anything, including ingredients and instructions. This is where you’ll also find the original URL if you grabbed the recipe from a cooking website, and you can add categories for sorting or mark a recipe as a favorite here, too. Any recipe notes are entered on the Edit screen but can be easily accessed within the recipe. Leave yourself little reminders to start chopping ahead of time or make note of good side dishes here. This is a great place for anything you want to quickly tap out about the recipe that isn’t actually a part of the original recipe itself.

Add categories or notes to your recipe.

Add categories or notes to your recipe.

Making a List

Whenever I decide to whip up something new, I often need to make a quick trip to the supermarket for a few extra ingredients. If I’m on a new recipe kick, which happens more than you might think, I find myself combing through a bunch of new recipes and creating a gigantic shopping list.

Pepperplate has that covered for me. At the top of every recipe is an Add To button, and I just add all of the ingredients to my Pepperplate shopping list. Not all ingredients lists are formatted the same, and I’ll see duplicates in my shopping list, but Pepperplate usually catches that “2 cups of lentils” and “8 oz. of lentils” are at least related and places them on the same line, making it easy to swoop in and edit my list or do quick calculations at the store using the Pepperplate iPhone app. For those without the Pepperplate iPhone app, though, I wish the iPad app allowed users to email shopping lists to themselves.

Create a shopping list for everything you need.

Create a shopping list for everything you need.

Final Thoughts

The iPad Pepperplate app is going to be best used as a complement to the web app and when used in conjunction with the Pepperplate bookmarklet. Add your recipes in your browser, and then use your iPad as a cookbook in your kitchen. I haven’t really talked about adding recipes to Pepperplate, because it’s not a lot of fun on the iPad. You can’t search user recipes, and you’ll have to manually enter everything. While it’s certainly doable, and you could absolutely transfer Granny’s apple pie recipe from a decaying, handwritten cookbook to Pepperplate on your iPad or even copy and paste recipe information from an iOS browser into Pepperplate, the iPad app isn’t the place to add a bunch of new recipes you find tomorrow on EatingLentils.com.

For accessing saved recipes, though, Pepperplate can’t be beat. I’ve been relying on Evernote Food as my iPad cookbook, and while it’s worked great, the Pepperplate shopping list just about blows me away. There are some downsides to using the Pepperplate bookmarklet to save recipes, and it doesn’t seem to grab blogged recipes too well, but the actual app is pretty great. I’ve really enjoyed using it, and if I can convince the bookmarklet to get along with all my favorite Tumblr food bloggers as well as it does mainstream recipe websites, Pepperplate’s going to become my new favorite iPad cookbook app.


Summary

Great app for keeping recipes, but it relies on the web browser bookmarklet.

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