Janelle Maiocco


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).

holiday cheer: product shout-outs plus TWO giveaways!!

holiday cheer: product shout-outs plus TWO giveaways!!


There is always a flurry of products to review, showcase and 'list' for holiday shopping. Companies reach out, aiming to be noticed in the middle of the holiday noise. I admittedly delete a lot of them---mostly those that don't interest me or 'fit' with my blog (diet water? frozen dinners? health pills?), but sometimes a few hang out in my inbox due to my curiosity. Some companies send me samples, and a few have put me on a plane so I can 'meet the farmer' or vintner or chef. I love that.

This post is a tribute to just a few recent products---my way of spreading a little holiday cheer. Not to mention two giveaways:

1. MUIR GLEN TOMATOES.* I have tried these before and love that muir glen is going organic, has a reserve blend and is setting a very high bar for canned tomatoes. I had a gal in a cooking class the other day ask me: tomatoes kept in the fridge or no? I said no. Next she said: I actually use a lot of canned tomatoes. I noticed she was embarrassed and I told her: "actually, a lot of canned tomatoes are very high quality and better than 'fresh' tomatoes out of season." And I meant it. Muir Glen gets their proprietary blend of tomatoes into cans within 8 hours of picking.

GIVEAWAY: basket of Muir Glen Tomatoes, including fire-roasted and Reserve (see pic). To enter: 1. tweet this post or like it on Facebook, then 2. add a comment below saying why you want the tomatoes and what you plan to make!


2. Barefoot Champagne.Barefoot kindly sent me champagne to pull out over the holidays. This is just me saying THANKS. I confess: I like the picture 'barefoot' and 'champagne' conjures.


3. I recently attended a food publicity event---at Emmer & Rye---with authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg of A Food Lovers Guide to Wine. I didn't realize they had 9 books. I happened to own one of them: The Flavor Bible. I reference it when I am learning about new ingredients, and want to know what goes with what. It's a good stepping off point. This most recent book is a similar format, giving you a quick and dirty low-down on the flavors of different wine; they trade in the 'scientific approach' to wine for a more 'tasting, pouring, trying' approach. It isn't like someone is going to slap your hand if you get it wrong. The wine police don't know where you live. So pour some already; you have your own palate and taste experiences unlike anyone else.

4. Thanks to Albarino, Alamos wines for sending me some holiday whites. I opened some on Thanksgiving; my father was thrilled as he adores whites.


5. GIVEAWAY: Teflon® 12" skillet (see pic; they sent me a sample 8"). Teflon® is giving away a non-stick pan for one of you! For a chance to win: 1. tweet this post OR like it on Facebook, then 2. add a comment below saying why you might want this pan and/or who you will give it to for Christmas! (Please separate comments for the two giveaways; YES you may enter each giveaway once!).

6. California Olive Ranch.This is the perfect time to give a shout-out to my friends at California Olive Ranch.** When I was at their ranch tasting olive oils, I kept a few 'notes':

  • Everyday Oil: buttery mild, fresh.
  • Arbequina: peppery, artichoke, round. 70% of their crop.
  • Arbosana: chocolate. Seriously, when I tasted this oil it made me think of chocolate. Ever tried making an olive oil cake? This oil would be perfect, it lends itself nicely to baked goods.
  • Miller's Blend: popular on the tables of fine restaurants, this is a great go-to blend for 'better than your daily oil.' A mix of 3 olives, it is peppery, with mild grass flavor and solid fruit.
  • Limited: like butter-poached grass with just the right amount of salt and pepper. drinkable.

It’s that time of year – California Olive Ranch just released 2011's Limited Reserve! This is the good stuff, folks. New oil or 'Nuovo Olio' is not often shipped from abroad and when it is, it is outrageously expensive. When we lived in Italy I fell in love with just-pressed oil (Oct/Nov). It is hard to come by this flavor/olive oil experience in the states. But that is changing, thanks to the likes of California Olive Ranch. You want just-pressed oils for straight eating, sandwiches, salads etc. In Italy, oil that is just one year old is well, OLD. And they call it 'cooking oil.'

If you would like to try some of California's 'New Oil' here is a 10% off coupon code; enter BLOGFRIENDS upon checkout at the online store, now through Dec 31, 2011.


* and ** an extra kudos to companies like Muir Glen and California Olive Ranch. These companies are trying to repeat the theme of Bottleshock---only with olive oil and high quality canned tomatoes instead of wine. Have you seen the movie Bottleshock? It is the story of California wines---and when they finally started rubbing shoulders with iconic European wines. It is when U.S.A. wine earned recognition for taste, quality and standards in the global market. Up next: artisan canned tomatoes and small-farms collaborating to press above-standard olive oil.

P.S. Entries are due before 9pm PST DEC 14. Winners will be announced here.

12 Days of Christmas: 12 Easy Appetizers

12 Days of Christmas: 12 Easy Appetizers

risotto. with winter vegetables.

risotto. with winter vegetables.