a very merry middle of january to you all.
the detroit blustery, gray haze captured my heart and soul and enthusiasm and ate it for a mid-hibernation snack, leaving me feeling like a victim of a dementor attack (harry potter reference, i know, i know… too bad my part honey-bee part cow patronus is off on vacation somewhere sunny). i am sucked up, drained out, tired, and somewhat listless. i think i’ve caught the seasonal depression bug my mom always talked about when i was a kid, in the gray ohioan winters. there is a calm beauty to this gray, for sure, but i really could use a day of unceasing sunshine.
in spite of such glum, on monday, the productivity fairy shocked me with a surge of energy (albeit short lived). monday was the day. the four, 10-15 pound pink banana squash i purchased late last fall, those wild, dinosaur-esque beauties, their day of processing finally arrived. my hopes and dreams, to become a processor of michigan produce into delicious value-added products, greeted me with a crazed exuberance. pink banana squash butter, here i came.
sawing those squashes in half, in quarters, scraping the seeds, oiling, salting, and throwing them in the oven. it may not sound like a lot, but friends, it’s a whole lotta squash. a whole lot. my housemate and i agreed that i should just stuff the oven FULL of them, get ’em done in one swift roasting. i stacked, i pieced, and ordered them (trying hard to follow the organizational example of papa du-ane lee meyer, who is an organizing genius… seriously, check out our christmas tree ornament box. when he puts them away, ALL of them fit neatly into one large box. when any other member of the meyer clan attempts such a task, two to three boxes are necessary…). and all seemed well in the world. and all was well in the world.
so lisa and i celebrated the way we only can with the help of our wood-burning stove: marshmallow s’more sundaes. there’s really no better way to celebrate the pursuit of one’s life dreams. red-hot golden embers, gently kissing the soft fluff of the mallow, browning the white flesh to a crisped golden brown, warm sander’s hot fudge, crunchy graham crackers, and vanilla ice cream. this celebration entertained not only our house, but our mouths as well.
meanwhile, a couple of things happened. first, so distracted by my taste-buds’ happy tango with the sundae, i failed to realize the accumulation of smoke on our first floor. lisa, less captivated by our treat and more observant to the “here and now”, nudged me to check on my squash, on my dreams. as we entered the kitchen, i felt a shift in the energy surrounding my perceived evening of wild productivity. the squash needed some love.
recognizing their duress, i quickly determined the squash really needed some water in the base of their pan. this would allow for a quicker cooking, as the steam from the water would work its way through the thick, orange flesh, enticing a lovely, buttery, smooth end product. what i did not consider was the consequence of such an action: exploding glass. dear friends, i know it seems obvious, and sitting on this side of the ordeal, it’s crystal clear. do not pour water on piping hot glass and expect that glass to remain stable. that temperature differential will get you every time, and shatter. thank goodness that pan was below the rest of the squash, or my hopes and dreams really would have been ruined. well, maybe not ruined, but postponed.
needless to say, the squash was not all baked in one swift swoop. and as the squash puree still sits in my fridge, two days later, waiting for its marriage with citrus, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg, i know that the squash butter will be made. in due time. in the mean time, in the midst of the gray and blah, a night of heat, fire, and exploding glass was enough to keep me going until i get some real sun.
if anyone is interested in purchasing some delicious, glass-free pink banana squash butter for the affordable price of $6 a jar, please let me know. delicious on bread and bread-like things (muffins, waffles, pancakes, etc), as a dip, in soup, or by the spoonful, this delicata sunshine treat will treat you quite well.