Janelle Maiocco

Hi.

Welcome to my blog. I live in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle on an Urban Farm (w/ five laying hens and a huge garden). I am a trained chef (w/ a certificate in food preservation), taught at a cooking school & like to share 'kitchen hacks' - culinary tips that save time, money & maximize flavor. If that isn't enough, I also run a food+tech startup called Barn2Door.com - a platform to help everyone easily find & buy food directly from farmers, fishers & ranchers (from CSA's to urban farm eggs to 1/2 a grass-fed cow).

3 fantastic Valentine treat recipes AND a winner!

3 fantastic Valentine treat recipes AND a winner!

heart cookies
heart cookies

It is a good reminder to enjoy the love in your life. This holiday. The one that beckons molten chocolate cake and pink-sprinkled heart cookies. Steaks with deep red wine sauces, candlelight.... jazz music.

This holiday isn't for everyone, and I confess if we are super busy sometimes it feels more like a nod in the direction of this heart-full holiday rather than a full-on embrace. I try to dress up my home in a little pink and red, buy a small bouquet of roses or tulips. And I squeeze in time to make Valentine treats. Here is the recipe for the heart-bundled cookies, above. It is rather fun to sneak little treats into your kiddos' lunch; today mine each have a little package of chocolate covered strawberries.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (or Dried Apricots!) 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate 6 oz. sweetened/baking chocolate berries and dried fruit

Melt chocolate together (I use the microwave in 30 second intervals---then stir vigorously in between, it only takes 2-3 rounds). Dip fruit, place on parchment to harden (I sometimes pop them in the fridge to rush the job done!). Ta-dah! Great little project to do with helping hands... especially for helpers who like to lick bowls...

chocolate strawberries
chocolate strawberries

Yesterday I used random.org to select a winner for this Valentine Cookie Kit from McCormick's; this heartfelt kit goes to Melanie! Her comment: "Iā€™d be making some desserts to share with my amazing husband. (Nothing like giving a gift that you get to eat yourself!)." For Valentine's Day: once they put their little one to bed---and the sitter arrives---she and her husband plan to stroll to a nearbyrestaurant for some wine-drinking and eye-gazing. Perfect! Have fun with this kit Melanie, and thank you so much for stopping by Talk of Tomatoes.

Happy Valentine's Day! For everyone else, hopefully you have some red food color on hand... here is the red velvet cupcake recipe that was tucked into the Kit:

Red Velvet Cupcakes24-20 cupcakes.

2 1/2 cups flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup softened butter 4 eggs 1 cup sour cream 1/2 cup milk red food coloring 2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting 8 0z. package cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup softened butter 2 T sour cream 2 tsp vanilla extract 16 0z. (1 box) confectioner's sugar

Oven to 350; Mix dry ingredients, set aside. Beat butter, sugar on medium/high for 5 min. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, 'red' and vanilla. Add flour mixture, just until blended. Spoon into paper-lined muffin tray, filling 2/3 full. Bake 20 min; frost when cooled. For frosting: Beat all ingredients except sugar; then beat in sugar until smooth.

Crab Enchiladas with Bacon and Orange Sauce

Crab Enchiladas with Bacon and Orange Sauce

Giveaway: Valentine Cookie Kit

Giveaway: Valentine Cookie Kit