versatility in the air, and my sensible heart travels humbly through the days. one warm week and one bitter wind later we’re traipsing the path to an official spring date. it’s chaos and curiosity. pomp and circumstance. curtness and kindness. mourning and blessing. time never quite doing what you want it to, but never failing.
i wanted to share the last squash this week, a golden beacon calling out for transition and praising the finality of its preservation. this last breed is called a ‘sweet meat’, composed of marigold flesh and a moody gray tan. the sweetest taste and the smoothest texture make it a perfect candidate for all forms of culinary applications. it is a gentle reminder that an autumn bounty can share kinship with a blustery, rain-snow-spackled day in march. deep golden hues revealed by cloudy skin. happy sad for this moment, and eager to feel it for all years to come.
one course of squash, and it’s spoonbread. a soft deliberation led to a rather easy decision that this event was best enjoyed somehow with a spoon and butter. something to reflect with, and something to soak into the sweet innards of the surviving harvest. seemingly, a well-rounded nod to last season and a steady-handed shake to the next. sweet and savory, here and gone. a solitary endeavor or a communal elation. last of the squash and first coming forth of the spring.
- 2½ cups buttermilk
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup white cornmeal
- 1 cup squash puree
- 3 large eggs, whites separated from yolks
- 2 tbl chopped, fresh chives
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp fennel seed, crushed
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- preheat oven to 350 degrees. in a medium saucepan over medium heat, slowly bring the buttermilk, butter, and salt to a simmer. once combined gradually add the cornmeal, whisking into the mixture until all is thickened, about 1-2 minutes. whisk/fold in the squash puree and set aside.
- in a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, chives, cinnamon, fennel seed, and turmeric. whisk in the cornmeal mixture and set aside.
- beat/mix the egg whites into soft peaks. fold ¼ of the egg whites into the cornmeal batter, and then fold in the rest. add batter to a 9x5 loaf pan and bake until set, about 40 minutes.