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).

Grandma's Special Salmon Sauce

Grandma's Special Salmon Sauce

salmon sauce
salmon sauce

I would get up at 6am with my dad, pull on my boots and add one jacket on top of another. At only 8 years old, I'd fill that dented and well-loved Stanley thermos with hot chocolate - dad had his thermos of coffee - and traipse with him to the boat. I can still see the boat bobbing by the dock and smell the salty ocean water. A few seagulls say hello, but all else is quiet, serene - we witness the crack of dawn.

He loved to fish, and I loved being part of dad's crew. I'd curl up on the bright blue, tattered vinyl boat seat then stare at the end of my fishing pole for hours. Was that a bite? We listened to music - or Bill Cosby or the Nylons - and if my Uncle or grandpa were fishing on a nearby boat - we'd call them on the CB (long before cell phones existed). Roger.

After hours filled with a few exciting minutes of reeling like a mad-person, nets flying and big proud grins - we'd pull in our poles and motor back to dock.

I would watch as my dad deftly fileted each fish - on the dock there would be a pseudo sink with a spray hose and slab of wood.

My family ate salmon frequently. Often we would fish near the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington state. Back in the day: we would catch our limits. We loved to eat salmon. And we always, always ate it with grandma's special sauce. Now that I think about it: it was like smearing tomato aspic on the highest quality line-caught salmon you could find. Who does that?

salmon sauce @talkoftomatoes
salmon sauce @talkoftomatoes

As a child, it was a given that we put 'grandma's special sauce' on our salmon. Now I giggle at the notion that I accepted 'special sauce' without question. Even today, nostalgia easily trumps my professionally trained palate: I still make and love grandma's special sauce.

Grandma's Special Sauce (for Salmon)

1 can tomato soup 2 T. sweet pickle relish a small onion, diced 2 T. brown sugar 2 T. vinegar 1/2 to 1 teas. prepared mustard 1 T. liquid smoke

Combine all, heat over stove.

Janelle + Grandma's Special Sauce

1 8 oz jar of grown-on-my-urban-farm then canned tomatoes (OR your favorite high quality 15oz can crushed tomatoes)

3-4 T tomato paste

2-3 T homemade canned sweet pickled, finely chopped (or bread & butter pickles)

1/2 small red onion

2 cloves garlic

2 T dark brown sugar

Coarse and freshly ground: salt and white pepper

2 T white vinegar (OR white wine, white balsamic or apple cider vinegar)

2 tsp mustard (I use stone ground)

1 T liquid smoke

2-3 tsp honey

Add ingredients into pot, and simmer until onion softens and sauce is heated through.

oxtail recipes - and how one long tail made it through 4 meals.

oxtail recipes - and how one long tail made it through 4 meals.