Drink your squash, honey

better yellow squash soup

A shift is my taste buds caught me by surprise around the age of 25. I discovered a love of squash – particularly the yellow crook-necks that take over the garden this time of the year. They grow from fingerlings to makeshift baseball bats in a 24-hour period!

squash 2 As a kid I loathed the vegetable, probably for no other reason than the name which conjurs up thoughts of a big fat bug hitting the windshield at 70 mph. Squash, Splat, Bleah!

Then, during my first pregnancy someone offered me a rich delicious concoction of smashed yellow squash mixed with cheddar cheese, sour cream cracker crumbs and all kinds of evil additives that aren’t particularly beneficial to the human body. It was love at firs bite. The squash was almost superfluous, but we called it squash casserole and smugly patted ourselves on the back for eating our vegetables.

Now I love it raw, fried, sauteed, boiled and grilled. But lately I’ve been drinking it through a straw like a milkshake. Seriously, I first tried this wonderful chilled squash soup at a luncheon for my now defunct gourmet club. After I saw the recipe and realized it was heavy cream with a tiny bits of pulverized squash in it, I decided to keep my distance. But lo and behold I discovered FAT FREE Half and Half. (Wouldn’t that be an oxymoron?)

It’s nothing like that anemic skim milk – but rich and thick and now I can make my chilled squash soup and sip it with abandon from a silver mint julip cup. I served it the other day for my friend’s Margaret Ann’s birthday luncheon. I poured it into my mother’s silver goblets that were frosted and glistening in the sunlight (we were eating alfresco because the Mississippi humidity took a vacation last week).

It’s easy to make: Saute 1/2 cup minced onion and one teaspoon of chopped garlic in three tablespoons butter. (I’m waiting on a FAT FREEE butter to hit the market.) Stir in 1-1/2 pounds thinly slices squash and one can of chicken broth. Simmer covered about 15-20 minutes until squash is tender. Spoon mixture into a blender and process until smooth.

Don’t do what I did the first time I made it. I had washed the lid to my blender in the dishwasher and it warped slightly. When I punched the blender puree button, it blew the top off and everything within five feet was covered with pulverized squash. I had it in my hair, my eyes and even on my Boston terrier Rebel who immediately began cleaning it up for me.

You would be wise to let it cool slightly before putting it in the blender. After it’s all smooth and velvety, return to pan and stir in 1/2 cup Half and Half and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. I’ve also used fat free sour cream in a pinch.  (Of course, if you’re slender and brave, you may use the full octane varieties.) A healthy dose of Tabasco won’t hurt. I usually drizzle a little pepper sauce on top for color. Refrigerate until well chilled. This makes five cups or enough for about six people.

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