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).

skip dinner: go straight to dessert.

skip dinner: go straight to dessert.


How would that be for a New Year resolution? (I know what you are thinking, too late for New Year Resolutions. But I like to be a bit unconventional, and sometimes waiting until February to apply resolutions isn't a bad idea: besides, the gym is far less crowded in Feb than it is in Jan). I have heard of those who eat dessert first. Those who deliberately skip to their favorite foods, prioritizing them according to their preferences---instead of conventions. Why? Why not? Life is short; eat dessert first.

I confess that won't be a part of my resolutions, in part because I prefer my sweets at the end of a meal. But in the case of my kitchen this week, skipping right to dessert worked out just fine.

I made default dinners this week, two of them (Turkey Meatballs w/Marinara and Sausage Pasta) . I also tried a few new recipes... ones you will never hear about. They were 'fine' and by 'fine' I don't mean ooh-la-la, I mean eh, adequate. And never to be repeated.

As you may know, I have a special list of default dinners. A list of favorite recipes made time and again in a pinch or for good reason. They are tested and approved, enjoyed and coveted by my family. Worthy of guests, worthwhile on weeknights, default dinners is our family list of best recipes. And I remain undiluted in my mission to find, maintain, expand and fine-tune this list.

This week was typical: make some proven familiar recipes to offset my search for new [default] recipes. This week, the two default dinners proved themselves delicious again, but the new recipes didn't make the cut. One recipe was a quick rendition of pork paprikash, another was skillet broccoli, then there was the new salad dressing and that parsnip puree. All fine, but not worthy of our list of favorites. What WAS delightful this week was dessert.

My friend made me coconut macaroons for Christmas. I usually take it easy on both baking and eating sweets, but these cookies I ate standing up. I think by the third one I finally got myself a cup of coffee. Fortunately, I ate them in December so no New Year resolutions applied...

... And since my resolutions really don't begin until February, I made them, and ate many of them, again. Maybe you should too--- especially if your New Year resolutions wisely include eating dessert first:

Coconut Macaroons*14 ounces sweetened shredded coconut 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Combine the coconut, condensed milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whip the egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make medium-firm peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Drop the batter onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper using either a 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop, or two teaspoons. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and serve.

*my friend and I both enjoy Barefoot Contessa, so when I asked her for the recipe, she just gave my a page number. We both agreed: these cookies are a bit persnickety. I highly recommend spraying the cookie sheet to avoid sticking; my friend waits for dry, cool weather...

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

lunch box cookies

lunch box cookies