Friday, July 24, 2009


I don't really know why I associate zucchini bread with summer. It's not something I make on a regular basis, but seems to be something that I always have a memory of from summers past, either at home on the kitchen table or at any number of summer BBQs back in Ohio. I guess it's not such a stretch, zucchini falls under the category of "summer squash" with a peak growing season of May through August. I think there's also something sentimental about cooking activities that can be enjoyed out on the front porch in the warm weather like shucking corn, snapping green beans, or shredding tons of zucchini. However, as far as season-food associations go, I'll go out on a limb and guess that when most people think of summer the vast majority of them don't give zucchini bread a passing consideration. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that I even like zucchini bread. I don't care for plain zucchini but, for some reason, I'm always in the mood for this moist, spicy-sweet loaf of bread. I know that a sweet bread studded with shredded vegetables might not seem appealing to most (sort of like that V8 juice that tastes like fruit...I just can't do it), but the idea is similar to carrot cake--the texture of the veggie is present but definitely not the dominant flavor.

I didn't have any specific plans for zucchini bread yet this summer but, when a coworker brought in some extra summer squash from her home garden, I was struck with inspiration. But first I was struck by how freaking enormous this zucchini was. The squash I selected was at least a foot and a half long but, apparently, zucchini can grow up to 5 feet, with the world record being 69 and 1/2 inches long! The typical zucchini bread recipe calls for about 1 cup of shredded zucchini per loaf but, with a high quality food processor and Martha Stewart-like determination, I bet I could have gotten a good 6 loaves out of this zucchini. I'm also particularly partial to this batch of bread since I got to use a home grown squash. I may not grind my own peanut butter or infuse my own olive oils (here's looking at you, Martha), but I do appreciate getting to use all natural, home grown ingredients when possible...even if they have to come from someone else's home :)

I'm planning to take this loaf to another coworker's BBQ this evening and I'm secretly hoping she didn't partake in any of the office zucchini as well or else I think we'll be in for a summer squash bonanza tonight. And, just for the record, I managed to use the word 'zucchini' 17 times in this one blog post.

Zucchini Bread
(makes 2 loaves or 24 muffins)
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsps ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup raisins or chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease AND flour two 8x4 inch loaf pans (don't be lazy and skip the flour like I usually do!) or line 2 cupcake pans with paper liners.
3. In a large bowl beat the eggs with a whisk. Mix in oil and sugar, then zucchini and vanilla.
4. Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt as well as nuts and raisins or chips if using.
5. Stir this into the egg mixture. Divide the batter into prepared pans.
6. Bake for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. For muffins bake 20 minutes and serve with cream cheese frosting, if desired.

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