The Tim3 Machin3 from 3 Squares isn't a gadget that'll send you back to the future, but rather, a 900-watt multi-cooker designed to save you time. We took its many settings for a spin -- click through for the complete test-kitchen run down.
That's exactly what I did for my first test, with chicken breast, asparagus, and garlic rice all from a single cook in a single pot. The Tim3 Machin3 automatically senses how long your food needs to cook, so you can literally set it and forget it. All three came out tasting great.
The Tim3 Machin3 got right to work, cooking it just as it had cooked the plain white rice before it. Oh, and while we're talking black beans and rice, here's a tip: switch out the water for equal parts chicken broth and beer. And don't forget the cumin. Trust me, I'm Cuban.
When the Tim3 Machin3 senses that there are 10 minutes remaining in the cook, it will beep and begin counting the minutes down. Once it's ready, it'll beep again, switch over into "Keep Warm" mode, and start counting the minutes back up to let you know how long it's been sitting for.
When my black beans and rice were finished, the results weren't half bad. The beans were perhaps a touch overcooked, but the rice was al dente, and my taste testers were happy. Most telling: I didn't have any leftovers.
Let's start with quinoa. The Tim3 Machin3 really tries to set itself apart here, with a unique feature that toasts the seeds before the cook gets started. Supposedly, this helps to enhance the dish's inherent nuttiness. It certainly smelled pretty good as I leaned in to snap this shot.
Once the seeds are sufficiently toasted, the Tim3 Machin3 will beep, telling you its time to add the liquid and get cooking. I chose chicken broth instead of water for the extra hit of flavor, which -- let's face it -- quinoa can certainly use.
Looks aside, the results were less successful than I had initially thought. The Tim3 Machin3 had overcooked my meat, producing something much closer to well-done roast beef than to fall-apart pot roast. Tasty to be sure, but also quite tough. In hindsight, this shouldn't have been a big surprise -- overcooking large hunks of meat is something we've seen from other slow cookers that use metal pots instead of ceramic crocks.
The Tim3 Machin3's instructions advise you to use a little less water than normal for oatmeal cooks, so I used a half cup less than the recipe asked. I also wanted cinnamon and brown sugar in there, so I added cinnamon... but then realized we were out of brown sugar. D'oh! Oh well -- chocolate chips are a perfectly acceptable brown sugar substitute, right?
After about twenty minutes on the white rice setting, the Tim3 Machin3 announced that my grits were ready. A quick inspection showed that they were anything but, with about a half inch of standing water still in the pot.
I closed the lid and ran the cycle again to see if the Tim3 Machin3 could get me to the gritsy promised land. At the end of the second cycle, the results were much more satisfying -- but with two cycles totaling about 45 minutes worth of cooking, this test was still a bust. Still, the Tim3 Machin3 never promised to make grits, so it's hard to hold it against it.
For my final test, it was time to make yogurt from scratch. Typically, this is a rather painstaking process -- you have to heat milk to a precise temperature, hold it there for about 10 minutes, then cool it back down, add some yogurt culture, and let it simmer for 8 to 12 hours. Fortunately, the Tim3 Machin3 promises to do all of that work for you.
After the milk is gently cooled to the correct temperature (it took my batch about 40 minutes to get there), the Tim3 Machin3 will beep yet again and tell you to add the yogurt culture, a substance containing the specific bacteria needed to get from milk to yogurt.
I followed an online recommendation to blend my yogurt with Nutella -- the resulting concoction smelled delicious, but was much thinner than it had looked fresh out of the pot. I worried I might have overmixed my yogurt, and hurried it into the fridge to chill overnight.
This gave me some time to clean up, which is pretty simple with the Tim3 Machin3, thanks to a non-stick coating. Just a little soap and water and a quick wipe-down, and you're good to go. The pot is also machine washable.
The next morning, I checked in on my yogurt, and it was indeed still a bit thin. My taste testers also noticed something off about the taste. I'm not ready to write the yogurt setting off, though -- I'm likely the culprit for over-blending my batch. I could have also let it simmer for more than 8 hours for a batch that was thicker and more tart.
The Tim3 Machin3 is available for pre-order now, and should ship out in February. You'll need to spend $70 on it (about £50, or AU$90, converted roughly). That's more than most basic rice makers, but also not bad for a countertop multi-cooker. For more on whether or not this kitchen gadget is worth your cash, be sure and check out my full review.