July and August are the months of the year in which Barbara Kingsolver* says that people (at least those in farm country) start to lock all of their doors. This doesn’t come from a sudden suspicion of their neighbors, mind you, but instead comes from the fear that their neighbors have, like themselves, been growing summer squash and zucchini. They will, in fact, grow so much that they will attempt to donate their squash to their neighbors, because they have too much to use. While we haven’t gotten quite to that point in my family, we aren’t far from it, either. There have been a handful of zucchinis (we’re growing both a conventional green as well as a yellow summer squash) that I’ve just had to let go (and grow to become the size of whales) simply because either I can’t get to them or because I have too many sitting in my refrigerator, begging to be eaten.
I love using zucchini in a stir-fry these days (or some other tasty recipes), but my childhood staple growing up was zucchini bread. My mom is quite the baker, and as faithfully as we grew zucchinis every year, she turned them into this slightly sweet and utterly delicious bread that remains one of my favorites to this day. After experimenting with some recipes last August/September (in a vain attempt to make it healthier, but simultaneously as delicious), I came to the conclusion that the tried-and-true recipe was the one I had to fall back on, and just enjoy the bread as it was (meaning that I’m eating it for dessert…which satisfies my craving for something sweet, but not something with chocolate. Sigh. Life sure is tough around here). This recipe is the same one my mom used, and definitely tastes just as good as it did when I was younger.
Zucchini Bread (Adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook)
About 3 tbsp butter (to grease the bread pan)
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
Preheat the oven to 350 F and flour and butter the pans. Combine eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer** and beat until well combined. In a seperate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Sift together using a fork or your fingers. Incrementally add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing well between additions. When all of the dry ingredients have been added, add the zucchini and mix until combined.
Pour into one 1 lb loaf pan (you may want to put a cookie sheet under this, just in case of leakage. I made two very small loaves using two 1 lb pans, and was dissatisfied with the size of the bread) and cook for about 1 hour and fifteen minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean, the bread is done. Stores wrapped in the freezer for several months. In the fridge, about two weeks.
*Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a book that I read for a freshman sociology class on social problems. Not only is BK a fantastic writer (whom I adore…see The Poisonwood Bible for more of her fantastic writing), but the pretense of the book is very compelling. For anyone thinking about issues of food and environmentalism, it’s great read. More engaging than Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it still presents many of the same ideas.
** This is another recipe that can easily be done without the help of a mixer! This would be incredibly easy to mix by hand, so don’t be deterred by a lack of a mixer.