Whole Lotta LoafSeptember 18, 2011
Zucchini, am I right? It has a reputation as the tribble of the vegetable patch – reproducing at such a rapid pace that if you so much as blink an eye, you’ll be buried up to your armpits. This summer in our house it was actually tomatoes and peppers that went on into infinity, but that’s another story for another time.
Anyway, zucchini. I must admit, I’m not really a fan of summer squashes. I have a fierce love of autumn squashes, but not so much the summer varieties. So of course, we received a fair amount from our farm share this year. For the most part we were able to foist them off on other people (hi Mom!). We actually hit the point where we thought we had avoided them successfully for the entire summer…but we were wrong. The end of summer finds us at the farm, listening in terror as our farmer says “here’s some zucchini that we had overlooked in the field, they’ve grown a bit larger than normal.” And then she hands us the world’s largest zucchini. Huge. Enormous. Gigantic. Seriously, this thing is a freaking zucchini zeppelin, I am not joking.
Now, if you want to stay in your farmer’s good graces, you never, NEVER scrunch up your nose and saw ‘ewwww’ when they hand you something that they grew, even if it’s something you’ve disliked forever. Nope, the correct response is to accept it graciously, and then go home and figure out what the hell to do with the damn thing.
Did I mention that there was hurricane heading directly towards us that weekend, as well? So now I’ve got zucchini trauma, and am stressed out beyond belief about the coming storm, too. Foot jiggling nonstop, looking out the window every three minutes, I’m high-strung and annoying to be around. Because I know we’re going to die, or at least end up homeless. Mrslovey, bless her soul, suggests that I bake something, as an exercise in distraction. I think this is an excellent suggestion – this way I’ll have fresh baked goods to barter with IN THE APOCALYPSE.
Step one is to call mrsloveymom, to get her zucchini bread recipe. For years she’s been sending us off on our annual trip to the woods with a loaf or two to share with our friends. It’s achieved a small level of fame – people expect it, and ask for it specifically. I had never actually tried it (see above-mentioned dislike of zucchini), but this year I happened to have some, and it was GOOD. For real. Moist and dense, with a little sugar crackle on top. And oddly enough, not filled with big stringy hunks of zucchini. So I chatted a bit about our impending doom with mrsloveymom, got the recipe, and off to the kitchen I went.
Turns out the reason for the smooth, non-chunky texture is the use of the food processor to mix the wet ingredients – it breaks the zucchini down and incorporates it iwth the rest of the wet goods, rather than mixing in grated strands.
Did I mention that this squash was a little on the large side? Well it’s a good thing it was so huge, because I completely forgot to add salt to the first batch, and it tasted awful. Throw-it-in-the-trashcan-awful. Luckily, I still had more than FIVE FREAKING CUPS of zucchini left (I’m telling you, it was enormous!), so I decided to use the rest to make a double-batch*. Waste not, want not, right? I also decided to add some dark chocolate chips, as an homage to the chocolate zucchini cake that my mom makes, which is the only other way that I’d eat zucchini prior to this.
So the double batch (4 loaves!) came out great. I remembered the salt, the sugar crackle on the top was delish, the dark chocolate chips added a nice depth of flavor, and the hurricane decided to spare my town, other than a few hours without power. Not a bad deal. Since I didn’t need to trade the bread for gasoline, peanut butter, or a working toilet, I ended up with a loaf for home, one for work, and two for the shelter – not a bad deal! And, I showed that squashbeast who’s in charge of *this* kitchen!
Zucchini Ireney Bread
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups unpeeled zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla
- Mix first 8 ingredients (sugar through chips) in a large bowl and set aside.
- In food processor or blender, combine remaining ingredients and pulse until mixed.
- Grease and flour two standard loaf pans.
- Stir the wet and dry mixtures together, and then divide between the two pans.
- Sprinkle tops with sugar (you can skip this part, but it creates a great crackle top)
- Bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then release and let cool completely on rack before slicing and serving.