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).

Halloween Party Ideas & GIVEAWAY

Halloween Party Ideas & GIVEAWAY


Hello! You didn't think I would let this month slip by without a round of Halloween suggestions did you? I adore this month, this holiday, this excuse for making wickedly good libations and downright naughty treats. Every year we have a party, full of spiders and spooks, noshes and newfangled drinks. We pump up the creaky noises, fill our home with fog and tip our hats at the cemetery stones adorning our front yard.

I will decorate this weekend.

And start shuffling through recipes, old notes and previous Halloween menus.


Here are a few ideas to get you---and me---started:


  1. Black Widow (this drink looks the part, with hairy legs---aka black unfurled licorice strings---dangling over the sides)
  2. Purple People Eater
  3. Mummy Juice (this orange-rum-ginger libation even made it into a cookbook)
  4. Manhattan. Haven't yet blogged about this classic cocktail---but make them quite often. If you plunk a brandied cherry into the drink you could call it a pickled eyeball...


  1. fig kalamata tapenade (on crackers with cheese)
  2. chicken liver pate (something about liver works with Halloween---loved eating this in Italy!)
  3. pumpkin puke: this is a show-stopper
  4. baked brie with chipolte candied pecans, dried apricots and cranberries OR pomegranate seeds.


When there is no sit down meal, I am for bite-size party food---including dessert.

  1. pumpkin ginger cheesecake bites
  2. arborio rice pudding with homemade jelly topping. I am thinking little ramekins or egg cups for serving, with dollops of fig jam or my all-time favorite: peach plum ginger compote. Pick your favorite!
  3. I saw 'mini caramel apples' in Sunset's recent magazine; essentially 1 - 2 inch cubes of red apple, then dipped in caramel to harden (just show the top red peel and cover the flesh). Stick skewers or twigs in top of apples. You can also roll them in crushed pecans, tiny chocolate chips or orange sprinkles.

Notes: add a few dessert options, something chocolate. Mini cupcakes? Maybe make bite-size frosted sugar cookies? Post about Manhattans, my current go-to drink. Make black widows: they are always a party favorite.


As for the GIVEAWAY: too fun! A box full of Halloween decorating/baking goodies from McCormicks. I adore that they sent 'one for me and one for you---my readers!' I love that the oven mitt, silpat and spatula are very high quality. The vanilla extract is ever-handy and my kids have already tucked into the candy corns (for some reason, not a candy I have ever liked!). Here is how to win YOUR box:

1. TWEET this post. (see tweet button at bottom of post) OR 2. LIKE talkoftomatoes on Facebook. OR 3. SUBSCRIBE to Talk of Tomatoes via email OR RSS Feeds (column to right). 4. THEN comment. LMK if you tweeted, liked, signed up etc. and of course LMK your plans for Halloween! 5. Today is Oct 17. I will announce a winner by Oct 19 at 4pm PST so we can get you your box before the party starts!

in two days: Food & Wine ALL STAR Las Vegas

Unprocessed food: an event, a book and a GIVEAWAY

Unprocessed food: an event, a book and a GIVEAWAY