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A few weeks ago, I went to my new favorite cooking store, Sur La Table, after Sunday brunch at a restaurant in the same mall. They had this rather fancy device called a Lux Multifunction Cooker by Fagor. It is a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and pressure cooker all combined with a control system that allows all these functions at different times and temperatures, under pressure or not.  I’ve always been intrigued and somewhat intimidated by  pressure cooking, the fear of a malfunction present in my mind dampening my enthusiasm.

Last night, I decided to use the device for the first time.  I started by making yogurt. The tricky part, for me, was getting the milk to the right temperature to kill any microbes that might be in the milk, 185-190 F (85-87.7 C). I did not have a candy thermometer and the meat thermometers I had didn’t give an accurate reading, so I wasted a lot of time. The cool down to 100-110 F (37.7-43.3 C) was easy. I added some fresh yogurt, set it to “yogurt” and went to bed. The function prepares the yogurt over 8 hours, (longer if you wish).  When I woke up, I had a rather tasty yogurt all ready to eat. So I am generally happy with the yogurt making function.

This morning, after soaking the garbonzo beans overnight, I used the pressure cooking function to prepare the beans for the homemade hummus  I’ve been contemplating. I put in the beans, the water, to the right amount maybe, 1:1 beans to water, and 2 tablespoons oil (their suggestion). I pressed the pressure setting  to high (9psi), set the timer to 25 minutes and pressed “start”. It does cook automatically once the pressure is reached. And it does shut off automatically.  It has two cool down function  “Fast” and “Slow” also called “natural”. All “Slow” means is that you leave it alone once the device is turned off and the pressure escapes through the safety valves. I allowed 60-90 minutes to cool down, but I suspect you could use a shorter interval.  I just checked on the garbonzos. They were ready and delicious! These garbonzos are unadorned, no spices, not even salt.  This multifunction cooker is  a keeper!

On to making the hummus.  I will get out my copy of Moosewood Cookbook and use that recipe. I may make felafel also. I feel like a hippie again.  Gonna go light the patchouli incense and put on my Ravi Shankar CD.