Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Eight Days and One Month: A Squash Miracle

Photo by Matt Korahais.
Some years, we make gingerbread. Some years, we give gifts. We did those thing this year too, but mostly, we celebrated with squash. A large warty squash brought both light and sweetness into our home this holiday season, doing double duty as a Chanukkiah (that's a Chanukkah-specific menorah, you'll understand when you're older) and as the base for Christmas pumpkin bread. I have a friend (hi Stacey) who says that stockpiling large winter squashes makes her feel safe. In addition to the root cellar element, I agree with her that they are comforting in their very presence, beyond their food potential. The firm knobby heft of the best squashes gives me a feeling of warmth, of substance, and that same solid awe that I feel when touching a stone pillar. Also, they're beautiful, and taste good.
Photo by Matt Korahais.
Each night of the Festival of Lights, Matt drilled a new hole into our kurbis friend, and when it was over, I cut off the waxy part and roasted the squash, pureed it, and froze it until Christmas eve.
Photo by Matt Korahais.
 On that night, it met its fate and became pumpkin bread, complete with cranberries, buckwheat flour, and olive oil. Thank you, little squash, for commemorating the return of the light and the birth (give or take) of one of the world's great freedom fighters.

Photo by Matt Korahais.
Pumpkin Bread with Cranberries Adapted from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
1 cup (5 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil (I used olive)
2 2/3 cups (18 1/2 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (or one 15-ounce can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup (5 1/4 ounces) water
3 1/3 cups (13 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour (I subbed in about 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour for AP)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg (I used considerably more)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans
Approx. 1 cup frozen cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream together the oil and the sugar. Beat in the eggs, pumpkin and water. Add dry ingredients, stir into egg mixture just until blended. Stir in vanilla, then the nuts and cranberries.
3. Pour the batter into two lightly greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Bake the bread for 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one loaf comes out clean.


Unknown said...

Charlie's favorite food is squash! I'm making some for him tonight.

Vicki said...

So cute!