On her witty and insightful food blog, Talk of Tomatoes
, Janelle Maiocco notes she's "known to wield knives, pitchforks, and the occasional martini." She wears many hats, in addition to being a blogger. A resident of the Seattle area, Janelle talks with us about being a blogger, professionally trained chef, urban farmer, and entrepreneur. She holds an MBA, works with food product companies and farms, and is founder and CEO of
the tech company Farmstr
, which connects local farms with consumers.How did you come up with the name for your blog?
An affinity for tomatoes
and a penchant for alliteration(s). At the time I thought it was clever, but it does make folks think my site is all about tomatoes - which it's not. It's about: Food
: 'Knives' - I'm a trained chef and practical cook-every-night mom, which roughly translates to approachable weekly meals using cooking methods from restaurant kitchens.Farm
: 'Pitchforks' - I'm an urban farmer, big into food preservation, and often visit/blog about local sustainable farming.Frolics
: 'Martinis' - I love adventure and food-related travel.What's a favorite tomato dish that's easy, uses extra virgin olive oil, and just two or three ingredients?
My go-to dip and dressing
. I dipped focaccia in it years ago at a restaurant, got the recipe and now use it as my go-to salad dressing and to coat countless hunks of artisan bread.You have an MBA, worked for tech/other companies, and worked for a Congresswoman. How did you become interested in cooking and food?
I used to make pancakes on top of an overturned coffee Sanka can with a burner beneath it. I played restaurant with my stuffed animals and stirred up plastic bobbles. For hours as a little girl I would cut recipes out of mom's stacks of Better Homes and Gardens
and Good Housekeeping
and paste them into my own cookbook. I have always loved food.
My friends kept asking me for recipes and weeknight inspiration, so seven years ago I started my blog as an easy means to share my go-to recipes. It has evolved into something much greater, including travel to farms, recipe development for food companies, meeting food blogging friends, finding a love for food photography and ultimately: was my excuse to go back to culinary school. What's your earliest food memory?
Waking up at 5 am, quickly eating a big bowl of cereal, then filling up a thermos with hot chocolate ... part of the routine before going fishing with my dad in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. I would watch the end of my fishing pole for hours - and loved every minute of it.How do you use California Olive Ranch oil in your cooking?
I have a lot of affinity for California olive oil, as it reminds me of tasting oil in Italy. I love COR's commitment to quality and each year buy my share of 'new' oil (Limited Reserve
I use my California Olive Ranch 'new' oil
like gold: on salads, sandwiches, and as a stand-alone. I use all other California Olive Ranch oil
to liberally coat vegetables for roasting, to poach salmon, make salad dressing, and to start countless sauces.Click to see our Blog featuring Janelle's cooking advice and time-saving tips