By peoplestaff225
Updated March 12, 2009 11:45 AM
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I am one of those people who really loves to cook but who has the misfortune of having to do it in a tiny kitchen. Since I am so short on space I don’t really invest a lot in fancy gadgets (and any good cook will tell you you don’t really need them anyway). Because of this, when I was asked to review the new Crock-Pot Slow Cooker with eLume Touchscreen Technology I was very curious. Until now, slow-cooking to me meant braising for four hours in my Dutch Oven. I couldn’t begin to imagine what the Crock-Pot could do for me.

When I first received my new Crock-Pot I was kind of at a loss as to what to do with it. I looked through the cookbook that came with it but the recipes all seemed kind of intimidating. Luckily, CBB Reviewer Kristen had sent me her favorite slow cooker recipe for BBQ Ribs (it’s at the bottom of this review) and it looked pretty easy so I tried it out. After six nerve-wracking hours where I literally had to fight the urge to lift the lid off the Crock-Pot and check out what was happening under there (you really shouldn’t lift the lid of a Crock-Pot when the food is still cooking because it interferes with cooking temperature), my husband declared the ribs “the best ribs ever” and the wheels in my head started turning.

After that meal I began to try other recipes, and then even began to experiment with them to add my own twist to meals. It took me a little less than a week (about four meals) before I felt comfortable using the Crock-Pot the way that it was meant to be used: turning it on in the morning before work (or, in my case, playgroup) and coming home to a great-smelling meal. Once I realized that it was safe to leave it on during the day, even when I wasn’t home, I began relying on it more and more and cannot believe that I was a working mom for two years and did not own one of these gadgets!

The eLume Programmable Slow Cooker is a newer model that has a touch screen user interface. It is a 6.5 quart oval slow that cooker features a countdown control panel and an auto-shift to warm function. I like this particular function because I once over-estimated how long we would be out of the house and this feature kind of saved our meal (it stays on the warm feature for up to six hours).

So what makes it cost $130? Unfortunately it doesn’t buy or prepare the ingredients for you. You’re paying extra for the eLume Touchscreen technology. It is a flat, digitized surface which is very easy to use and even easier to clean (just turn off the machine and swipe your sponge over the surface). Also, this particular model is programmable in half-hour increments for up to 20 hours. It has two cooking settings — Low and High — as well as the Warm setting (which you do not use to cook) and it runs only on a timer.

This particular machine also happens to be really sleek looking so if you have limited space like me, you won’t mind having to store it out in the open. Quite honestly, my only complaint about this particular slow-cooker is that the wire is not long enough to reach from my 12 inches of counter space to the only outlet I have in my kitchen (right above my sink). However, I own one of those over-the-sink cutting boards and that is what I place the Crock-Pot on when I am using it.

Also worth mentioning is the new Trio Cook & Serve. I haven’t tried it but for someone who entertains a lot, it looks like the ideal gadget. It’s made up of three 2.5 quart slow cookers with individual temperature controls and can cook up to three different dishes at once.

Bottom Line: The eLume Programmable Slow Cooker is definitely pricey at $130, but you can still get a nice Crock-Pot without all the bells and whistles starting at $20.

Teba

Kristen’s Pork Ribs a la Crock-Pot

  1. Cut pork ribs into portions of about 4 ribs each so they fit in the pot.
  2. Season with salt and pepper and put them under the broiler for 15 mins to crisp them up a bit. (I put them on foil to avoid mess.)
  3. Put them in the crock pot.
  4. Dump a bottle of your favorite bbq sauce over the top.
  5. Cook until Daddy gets home.