Times Top 5: Cellphones as Cooking ToolsFrom the NY Times Dining Section 01.21.09

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We’re still grocery-list-on-scraps-of-paper people, but more and more cooks are using their cellphones to streamline their shopping, searching recipes in the grocery aisles and checking sustainable seafood charts. What about you? That’s just one of the topics in today’s Times dining section—there’s 15-minute fried chicken and a new way to roast beets, too…

1. Do you use your cell phone while you cook? It’s not just for keeping track of your grocery list. Chefs convert measurements and home cooks use cute little apps to time eggs. We did love the details about the firefighter finding recipes that would allow him to use his new wok and kitchen torch.

2. Bittman makes fried chicken in 15 minutes. This is a new one: a paste of herbs mixed with tahini gives the chicken its coating before it’s pan-fried.

3. A spotlight on South African wines. Wines from South Africa haven’t received a ton of praise, although they’ve been around for a while. This article gives several moderately priced cabernets a big thumbs up. There’s also a recipe for Lamb Shanks in Red Wine with Prunes that sounds delicious.

4. Roasting beets quickly for a great winter salad. We love this method of roasting whole beets, but Melissa Clark argues for a different approach. A friend taught her to peel and dice the raw beets, then roast them. They take less time, get caramelized all over, and don’t stain your hands as much.

5. Real Cajun cooking from New Orleans. Donald Link, the chef who owns highly acclaimed restaurants Cochon and Herbsaint in New Orleans, is opening a meat market for traditional Cajun sausages and hams. This article gives a good lesson on true Cajun cooking (and why blackened red fish ruined everything), plus there’s a recipe for Sausage Bread. Yum.

(Image: Erik Jacobs for The New York Times)