Last week I defrosted some squash because I needed room in the freezer. (Everyone does this kind of thing, right?) This particular container was given to me by a friend who was moving, and I knew I'd use it, because one of my favorite baked goods in the known universe is pumpkin spice bread. Which I usually make with squash anyway, but 'squash bread' doesn't have the same ring, so I still call it pumpkin, but you get the idea.
Anyway, I usually make it with canned squash because real squash are large, and if I suggested, say, eating squash as a side dish, my husband would give me a Look. I'm sure you've encountered this Look at some point- it's the one that says, 'is she mad?', or 'do I *look* like the kind of person who eats vegetables that aren't salsa'. (Actually he does eat vegetables. Usually stir fried, or covered in blue cheese dressing. But not squash by choice.)
Anyway, the other thing about using real squash is that it has lumps. Strings. Natural bits. Texture. I don't mind this if I'm just eating it, but I much prefer a smooth puree to use in bread or custard. And yet, no amount of beating will do the trick. Or at least not any amount of beating that I have the patience to administer. As I was contemplating this all-natural squash (which by this week I really needed to use up), I had a brainwave. I knew just how to get the smooth texture I wanted, and I even had the perfect tool right there in my kitchen. The food mill. Its mission in life may be applesauce, but I was betting that sieving the squash through it would give me the effect I wanted. And so it did.
Now the only question is, will there be any pumpkin bread left when company arrives this weekend? (Answer- yes, but not this loaf! Mine, mine, all mine.)