I've been cooking in so much clay lately that I thought I'd give some love to my pressure cooker. This was a gift from the wonderful Lorna Sass but I've also been reading posts from a great Facebook group of vegans who use an electric pressure cooker called the Instant Pot. I have a regular modern pressure cooker. It's weird how quiet it is, especially having grown up with the loud, hissy rattlers of the past. It doesn't compare to clay but how else can you cook a pot so quickly with such little effort? People who live at high altitudes know that they are essential and even Mexican food maven Diana Kennedy told me she often cooks beans in a pressure cooker and then finishes them off in a clay pot once they are almost cooked through. Is there a prettier bean? I start with onions, garlic and olive oil, just like I would with any other method. I have heard the oil prevents foaming that can clog up the release valves, but I would do it anyway for flavor. The Ayocote Morados are added and water to cover by about one and half inches. Note that the beans are unsoaked. I cover the pot and "lock" it and turn the heat to high. Once the high pressure is acheived (as in the photo), I turn the heat down to low and time 35 minutes for ayocote beans. I would probably do 20 or 25 from most Rancho Gordo beans but ayocotes are extra dense and big and the farmers in Mexico aren't as consistent as we are in California. A few extra minutes with these big beans won't harm them. Once the timer goes off, I cut the heat and let the pot come down in pressure on its own. I don't unlock it and I don't add cold water over top, a technique that can be used for other food. Once the pressure has dropped, I remove the lid and turn the heat up to medium and allow the beans to finish and the bean broth to evaporate a little, making it extra delicious. I had masa on hand this morning, so I made tortillas while I was waiting. I don't want to show off, but I did manage to get them all to puff, the goal of all tortilla makers! The beans were gorgeous and within an hour of a whim, I had beans and tortillas, making for an excellent breakfast and a happy way to start the day. Jill Nussinow, a pressure cooking evangelist and author of The New Fast Food, prefers to soak her beans before pressure cooking. I think she's right, as you get a more consistent result. She says you can also soak and then freeze, popping the frozen beans into your pressure cooker as needed. I hate freezing things and I rarely can plan to soak. The lesson here is there's no one technique and as long as you're cooking beans, I believe you are ahead of the game.