Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...

KILLER BEES MAKE THE MOST DELICIOUS HONEY

...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?



bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

November 26, 2010

2010 KILLER COOKIE CONTEST!


What's Christmas without cookies?
Everyone has a special cookie recipe that they reserve for holiday baking. It's special, perhaps a little more labor intensive, maybe even an heirloom passed down through generations...

Mine happens to be an heirloom that came over from Ireland with my Great Grandma Furman. What's yours?

Last year, Helen McGreevey of Medina, Ohio took the prize for her Glazed Fruitcake Drops. Will your treasured recipe be this year's winner?

From now through December 15th I'm inviting you to send me your all time favorite holiday cookie recipe. It needn't be an heirloom, or even an original, just DELICIOUS! Myself and the other Bees will bake off the entries and determine a winner, who will receive...

A $40 Gift Certificate to Penzey's Spices!

Here's how the cookie cuts:
Send your recipe soon, our ovens are pre-heated!!!
http://www.penzeys.com/

November 23, 2010

BREVITY

                 


I've been absent most of the month because we did a major reinvention of Milwaukee Design Collection, and I've been busier than a one-armed paper hanger, kids!

The 2nd Anual KIller Christmas Cookie Contest starts on Friday, and other Christmas nom noms are just around the corner! The launch of Interior Motives has been delayed until the first of the year because I want it to coincide with the start of a cool new project I'm working on. Patience yields many good things....
Smooches, Me

MUSICALTREAT OF THE WEEK

A TURKEY SONG

PASS THE POPCORN

THANKS, GIVING: Color Gardens



On this once vacant lot in the city of Ventura, California, there is more growing than just vegetables....



John Wilner is certainly a Killer Bee, and his gardens are special indeed. Sponsored by the Ventura organization COLOR, for which Wilner is the President, the conceptualized community garden is intended to grow relationships within the community. When seeds like these are planted, amazing things sprout.

When I spoke with John on the phone today, he said with great pride that in just the time since the Garden was launched in March of this year, they have been able to produce and donate over 300lbs of vegetables to local area food banks.

"In the beginning we didn't have our own water, and it was all brought in by the "water brigade", and a very kind neighbor with a really long hose."

COLOR is a Gay/Straight Alliance, and their mission is to promote a community of acceptance. I do believe its working. Wilner added "I have been  really impressed with the diversity of the volunteers themselves.They're from all walks of life. Some are interested in feeding the hungry, some in gardening, or beautifying the neighborhood, and some for all of those reasons."

"What we're doing here can be replicated anywhere, in any community in which there is a vacant lot. A vacant lot can feed half of a neighborhood."


Keep planting your seeds John, you're growing  beautiful things.

THANKS, GIVING: Growing Power

From Ventura, California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, people are making sure that others in their communities have enough to eat. The generous and ingenious spirit of  this gentleman-of-a-giant known as Will Allen, takes it not just one step further- but to an entirely different level...

November 22, 2010

TALKIN' TURKEY


Re-posted from November 2009...

My Thanksgiving dinner kicks ass. Ask anyone who shows up at my door on Turkey Day and they'll tell you it's the best they've ever had...just like their Mother's only better, they'll say. That's because mine is just like my Mother's, only better.

Mom made a pretty awesome spread for Thanksgiving. Then she made the EXACT same meal for Christmas. Like I've said before, her repertoire was tasty, but short. Anyway, over the years I've improved on most of her very traditional Thanksgiving menu which features all the usual suspects. And that's the way I want my Thanksgiving dinner. I can experiment with new recipes and ideas all year long, but once a year I make this rocking-good turkey dinner, and I look forward to it. It makes it special, to have it just once a year...

I have had turkey prepared in just about every fashion, but my favorite is brined. I don't do a fancy brine with lots of stuff in it, just salt and water. It brines over nite in a clean 5 gallon paint pail that ONLY gets used for this task, and it makes for the juiciest turkey EVER... And the tastiest skin!

This is the solution I've been using for 10 years now, from Fine Cooking magazine:
2 c. kosher salt to 1 gallon warm water
If you're using Morton's Kosher Salt, its denser, so reduce to 1 1/2 c. for each gallon of water.

Right in the bucket, stir together with your hand to make sure the salt breaks down...go ahead, stick your whole arm in there! Submerse your clean, FRESH [ It's gotta be fresh and minimally processed. If it's been injected with another solution, it could get REAL salty.] turkey into the bucket...that's only 3/4 full of brine so it doesn't overflow! If you live in a climate like mine, it's usually cold enough on the eve of Thanksgiving to put the bucket right outside and cover with a heavy plate or board [so the critters don't get it]. In the morning drain and rinse well, then roast with your preferred method. I pat mine dry, slather it with butter, dust it with fresh ground pepper, surround it with quartered onions drizzled with a little olive oil, then throw it in a preheated 400 degree oven for 1/2 an hour, then reduce the heat to 350. Roast the proper time per per/lb. guidelines. By the way, I've given up "tenting" and basting. Don't bother!

THE GRAVY
While the turkey is roasting...rinse the gizzards and neck, and place in a small sauce pan with a celery heart and leaves, a quartered onion,, a whole clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns, 1 tablespoon rubbed sage, a couple of bay leaves, and cover with chicken stock. Simmer for an hour, then pour through a sieve and discard the innards and bits. While the turkey is resting, combine the liquid with the turkey drippings. If you've got a big crowd, you can add a little more chicken stock accordingly. Thicken with either a paste made from butter and flour, or the way Mom did it, with cornstarch and a little milk stirred together until there were no lumps. Bring the combined liquid to a boil, then add the thickening agent, whisking briskly until it reaches your desired consistency.

AN OPEN CANVAS....


Painting "LIVE" in front of nearly a thousand people is trippy. And exhilarating.
It wasn't all that long ago that I started painting. I was dreaming about it in my nocturnal dreams, and though I'd never an taken art class, or even been inclined to paint,  it felt like a divine cue to do so.

This past Saturday as I stood in front of canvas # 82, I was sandwiched between two people in possession of art degrees. I had a color palette in mind, but from there I really had no idea where I was headed. There is an incredible power in allowing the moment to dictate your process. I suppose it could be seen as a leap of faith. Or lunacy. I just know that whenever I think I'm going to run the show, something  very different comes through me. Why jam up the frequency with my own ideas?

Now truthfully, there were a few moments (just like last year) when I thought to myself "Oh God, what am I doing here?" Then it happens. That definitive moment when the painting turns the corner, and truly takes on a life of its own. My spirit becomes buoyant, and THE KNOWING of what to do just washes over me. My friends, it is a feeling like none other.

Can I also tell you what a thrill it is, to have a stranger walk up behind you and say in your ear "I love your painting, but its officially out of my price range." 5 years ago I had never painted anything in my life. On Saturday night (through a friendly bidding war), my painting "Rosie's Garden" and I were able to raise a nice little chunk to benefit the scholarship program at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design.

I am humbled to have once again been asked to participate in an event populated by such fine and talented  artists. I think the big lesson in this is that I  responded when I was called. It is my sincere wish  that I will always remember to live my life like an open canvas in which to paint what ever strokes of color I so choose.
Even colors I didn't know existed.


MUSIC MAN


The Gift of Music from Bow Jones on Vimeo.

November 21, 2010

POTLUCK: Spicy & Sweet Hubbard Squash Soup


Stacey decided to take a month off from The Dish, but my November column POTLUCK was already in the can! Waste not a written word, so I will share it with you here. A little birdy told me that there are exciting new changes coming to STACEY'S HOT DISH...stay tuned! 

 

Seriously. I LIVE for Winter squash season. These days you can pretty much get Acorn, Butternut, and Spaghetti all year long. However for this wonderfully short window, the real bounty arrives. Delicata, Kabocha, Sweet Dumpling, and Hubbard- I simply cannot get enough! As well, I am grateful to the designer of Winter squash, thoughtfully wrapping up its delish/nutrish flesh  in a durable outer shell, naturally extending the culinary delight of the season! These colorful culinary Gods not only pack a wallop of sweet and earthy flavor, but Winter squashes are a great source of potassium, folic acid, B1 and C, and carotenes as well.
 
Have you maybe not heard of some of the varieties I mentioned? Scout your local Farmer's market, and experiment!  It is SO easy to make as a side (or main) dish. This time of year, I frequently roast a squash for dinner. Yep. That's it, just me and the squash. Delicatas are great for that. being almost "personal" in size.

My favorite variety for soup making is the Hubbard. It grows in sort of an gnarly, oblong shape, and is either a sagey-grey-green, or orange (Golden Hubbard.).They are rather unattractive and can grow to be quite large-  but NEVER judge a squash by its cover! These babies are naturally creamy and sweet. They also have a high seed yield, so expect less flesh on the inside than you might assume from its size.


This recipe is  a concoction from last Winter that was revisited several times, until I could no longer find my prized Hubbards. If I had access to them all year of course I could make it any time. Would it still be as special? Certainly not, and I am really OK with that, because it reminds me to savor all special  moments .
Enjoy the soup...while you can! 

Spicy & Sweet Hubbard Squash Soup



INGREDIENTS
2 medium, or 1 LARGE Hubbard Squash, roasted
1 large sweet onion, finely chopped
1 stick of butter
15oz can of Coconut Cream
2 cups (or 1 15 oz can) chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon Indian yellow curry powder (sweet or hot)
1 teaspoon Jamaican jerk seasoning
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons  brown sugar

Roast your squash. You can either pierce the outer skin several times with a sharp knife and roast whole, or you can halve them, scoop the seeds out and roast cavity side up, brushed with just a little olive oil. If you roast them whole, you'll want to let the squash cool down a little before slicing it in half ,and removing the seeds. Either way the squash will be cooked through when the skin starts to char and turn dark. The soft inner flesh should for the most part pull away from the skin.

While the squash is roasting,  saute the onions in the melted butter in a soup pot. When the onions become very soft and translucent, add the spices, sugar, stock and coconut cream. Leave to simmer on low.


Scoop out your squash and add to the stock  mixture, being careful not to get bits of the skin. It won't hurt you, but it is bitter. If you own an immersion blender, do your thing right in the pot. If you don't , then combine well with a spoon, then whiz 1/2 of the soup in a food processor or blender and add back to the pot. This gives the soup a silky texture yet still possesses a little tooth. Like most soups, this freezes really well-  so stock up!

WORD TO THE WISE...
When I made this over the weekend,  I had an ingredient snafu. Be sure that the coconut cream,  or "cream of coconut" is simply that,  and unadulterated. What I accidentally purchased  said Cream of Coconut , but was actually fortified with sugar and I believe intended for use in beverages. The flesh of a Hubbard is so beautifully sweet, but delicately so. The 2 tablespoons of brown sugar here are intended to balance out the spices, not enhance the squash itself. In the end my soup was edible, but way, WAY too sweet.

MUSICAL TREAT OF THE WEEK

MOVEMBER: Are YOU a Mo Bro?


We hear so much about woman's health issues that I was surprised recently to learn about Movember.
I regret getting this wonderful bit of info about this GREAT organization to you all a little late, but hey- there's always next year. I know what I'll be sportinng next Movember....

From the Movember website....

The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember. 

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days. 

The idea for Movember was sparked in 2003 over a few beers in Melbourne, Australia.  The plan was simple – to bring the moustache back as a bit of a joke and do something for men’s health. No money was raised in 2003, but the guys behind the Mo realized the potential a moustache had in generating conversations about men’s health.  Inspired by the women around them and all they had done for breast cancer, the Mo Bros set themselves on a course to create a global men’s health movement. 

In 2004 the campaign evolved and focused on raising awareness and funds for the number one cancer affecting men – prostate cancer. 432 Mo Bros joined the movement that year, raising $55,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia - representing the single largest donation they had ever received.

The Movember moustache has continued to grow year after year, expanding to the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, the Netherlands and Finland. 

In 2009, global participation of Mo Bros and Mo Sistas climbed to 255,755, with over one million donors raising $42 Million US equivalent dollars for Movember’s global beneficiary partners. 

Want to see more? Check out our Mo-Intro video by clicking on the image below:

The funds raised through Movember’s US campaign benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The PCF uses the money raised by Movember to fund research that is accelerating the discovery of better treatments and ultimately finding a cure for prostate cancer.  One such program is the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s research, which has recently made a significant breakthrough.  They identified 24 different kinds of prostate cancer and how aggressive each is.  This should enable scientists to soon be able to answer the agonizing question facing men with prostate cancer: does their cancer need immediate treatment, and if so what is the best treatment, or can it be left alone?

LIVESTRONG uses the money raised by Movember to fund important programs to support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.  These programs include:

•     Fertile Hope, an initiative dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.

•      My Planet, an online community of peer support that allows young adults to find and communicate with other young adults whose lives have been affected by cancer.

•      Continuing Nursing Education program on Young Adult Cancer Survivorship. LIVESTRONG encourage nurses to know the warning signs of cancer, understand what types of cancer for which young adults may be at risk, and learn about cancer screening.

The success of Movember can be directly attributed to the more than 627,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who have supported our cause since 2003.  Movember is sincerely grateful for their efforts and appreciates all they do.

For those of you new to Movember, we challenge you to join us in changing the face of men's health.

For detailed information about the Movember Foundation, financial and annual reports, men’s health, the programs being funded and the social impact Movember is having, please visit:

The Movember Foundation Site
 http://www.movember.com/

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!