July 31, 2011

Zucchini Bread

Nothing makes me happier than walking into the grocery store and seeing a local produce bin.  The seasonal produce will be at its freshest due to the shorter farm-to-table distance.  Bonus - you can brag about how you care about the environment and call yourself a locavore!  Of course, I will have to call you loco while snickering into a bite of my delicious quick bread.

Zucchini is a summer squash that I love sliced thinly length-wise and grilled.  Despite being treated like a veggie, it is botanically an immature fruit, being the ovary of the oft-sought zucchini flower.  As such, it does well in sweet dishes like this quick bread.

This recipe is a bit of a family heirloom, holding a special place in the cracked yellow recipe box in our cookbook cabinet.  One of my favorite memories is the time that my mother, sister, and I attempted to make this bread one snow day.  We dropped a whole bowl of grated zucchini, went to the grocery store to get more, then dropped a whole carton of eggs after we got back and had to go to the 7-11 to get more eggs!  It was a giggly hott mess, but the bread still turned out delicious!  I didn't mess with the recipe one bit out of nostalgia, although feel free to experiment with any combination of vegetables, fruits, or spices.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 cups peeled and seeded zucchini, grated
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Grease and flour two 9x5 loaf pans.

Local Zucchini!
Zucchini:  Peel the zucchini with a Y-peeler.  Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and use a small spoon to scoop out the seeds.  You can use a box grater, but the shredding blade of your food processor will be much easier on your fingers and take a fraction of the time.  Cut the zucchini into manageable pieces, insert in the mouth of the chute, and proceed to shred.

Grated Zucchini

Wet ingredients: Whisk the eggs briskly until they have lightened in color to a pale yellow.  Add the oil, sugar, and vanilla.  Finally, add the shredded zucchini.

Dry ingredients:  Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Add in 3 batches to the dry ingredients, folding GENTLY so as not to develop gluten from overworking the dough.

Pour evenly into the two loaf pans.  To get rid of bubbles that appear at the surface, drop the pan from about 1/2 inch off your surface.

Avoid these bubbles!  
Bake for 1 hour, until a knife comes out clean from the center of the loaf.  Let cool then enjoy with a slathering of cream cheese!

Cooled and ready for some schmear . . . 

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