A Salute to Absolute Organics

This week marks the end of an era for our family.  It was the first week in 11-1/2 years that we were no longer enrolled in an organic produce delivery service.  That service, Absolute Organics, has been discontinued as its owners, Steve and Vonda Hodun, redirect their energies to other pursuits.

I have never met Steve or Vonda in person, but I think of them as family. ¬†For those 11-1/2 years, we exchanged weekly emails, recipes, and stories about interesting and exotic vegetables. Their little boy grew up and so did our “little” girl. Most importantly, their stewardship of their incredible family business brought numerous new fruits and vegetables to our doorstep, forever altering our perspectives and our palates.

Yesterday, I shopped for produce without considering what was coming in my next delivery for the first time in a very long time. Absolute Organics was there though, in my mind, as I thought about what I’d want to cook this week and how much those choices have been influenced by my virtual produce family.

Vonda and Steve, I can’t thank you enough for your vision and seemingly tireless service! ¬†We salute you!


Instant Pot For the Win!

This year’s black Friday retail extravaganza brought deep, deep discounts on Instant Pot prices. ¬†I caved under the pressure, and haven’t looked back!

First up, one of my “go to” vegetarian recipes from, lentil bolognese. ¬†Of all of my vegetarian recipes, I consider this the one that wins the “Most Likely to Convert a Meat Eater” award. ¬†The lentils mimic the texture of ground beef in a way that is almost uncanny with lots of flavor and none of the saturated fat.

The Instant Pot can sauté, but I was so focused on testing out the pressure cooking features that I took the easy way through this recipe.  Everything was chopped, dumped into the pot, then the pot was set for 20 minutes of pressure cooking on the manual setting.  At the end, I had a recipe that looked, smelled and tasted just like the one I usually simmer for hours, with a lot less work.  Instant Pot, I think I love you!

Salads Veggies Starring as....Themselves

The Dog Days of Summer Are Here….And So Is The Cold Salad Parade

With 100-degree temperatures in this week’s forecast, and lots of days with lesser forecasted highs getting within a whisker’s length of 100, the quickest way to melt my cooking mojo is to stand me in front of a hot oven or stove. Many people tout grilling as the way through these situations, since grilling lets you cook with heat, even high heat, without heating up the kitchen. We’re doing some grilling, for sure, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist about timing my cooking so that everything is done at the same time, and I haven’t yet mastered the timing of grilling to the extent that I have stove top and oven cooking.

Professionally, I’m in a major transition period, as I wrap up a job I’ve had for 10 years and prepare to take on a big new challenge with a new employer. Let’s just say, I’ve got a lot of things on my mind right now, and the timing for cooking a hobo-style foil pack of vegetables doesn’t always grab¬†the prime spot on my radar.

This is where cold salads come in really handy. They don’t require much, if any, heat. They can be made in advance. They showcase seasonal produce, and they are often pretty attractive. I’ve taken to