Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Zucchini Bread

   Friends. My house smells sooooooooooo good right now. Last night we had our traditional Tuesday night fish tacos for dinner (YUM) and I made a shiny little glazed chocolate sheet cake for Handsome for dessert, but the main aroma-maker from last night which is still delighting me this morning is zuchinni bread. Wowsa. I haven't baked anything remotely like this in many moons, and I must say that it has drummed up something seasonal in me. It probably doesn't hurt that yesterday we enjoyed rain and clouds all day and a temperature no higher than about 87 degrees. And this morning is almost crisp outside.

   Zucchini bread is the perfect bridge food between seasons. You are making excellent use of summer's most bountiful vegetable and lacing it with autumn's favorite spice, cinnamon.

   This is delicious, fragrant, filling, and relatively healthy, and I would love to share it with you.

   Okay. The following recipe came from Martha Stewart's lovely mint green cookbook, "Collected Recipes for Everyday Use," c 1995. I have owned this thick hardback copy since my early twenties, so, you know, just a few years. *wink*

Martha Stewart's Collected Recipes for Everyday Use

   It's falling apart now from heavy use and is crusted together in several delicious places, but the recipes are certainly still worth exploring. Tonight was the first time I finally tried the zucchini bread. Total success.

   A few notes first: While it is technically a "quick bread," meaning, it does not contain yeast and therefore doesn't need to rise, zucchini bread takes just a little extra time to prepare. So it may be a quick bread, but it isn't fast. Also, it requires the biggest mixing bowl you have ever seen in your entire baking life. I actually feel like I say that a lot. Does everyone else have ginormous bowls, except me? Do I need to buy bigger bowls? Or have I been watching too much Shark Week?

See what I mean? The bowl on the left still needs to be added
to the very full bowl on the right. I was a nervous wreck.

   Okay. Other than large quantities of basic pantry staples, the only unusual ingredients are zucchini (obviously), nuts, and walnut oil. I had never purchased walnut oil before yesterday. It is a little pricey (almost five bucks for a small bottle), but I do not foresee using it too often or too quickly. Verdict: worth the almost five bucks.

Now I am actually wondering if walnut oil would be good in pesto. Thoughts?

   The first thing you should do is grate a few large green squashes. You need a finished amount of five cups of shredded zucchini. So if you grow them like I have been lately, you'll need like half of one:

Perhaps you have heard it's been a great year for zucchini here at the W.

  I just used my cheese grater and considered it meditation. Grate, grate, grate. Think good stuff, pray, say thanks. Grate, pray. Grate, say thanks. Grate, imagine only love. Grate, pray for your enemies too.
  Then wrap the wet, shredded stuff in several layers of paper towels to drain some of the water out. Later, if you have chickens, pour that pale green water into their treats, Free vitamins!
   While the shredded zucchini rests, you can mix up the bread batter.

Martha's Ingredients:
  6 eggs
  3 1/2 cups sugar
  1 3/4 cup light vegetable oil
  5 cups unpeeled grated zucchini
  5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  2 teaspoons baking soda
  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  6 teaspoons baking powder
  6 teaspoons cinnamon
  2 cups chopped walnuts
  1/4 cup walnut oil

Marie's Instructions:
  Using the biggest bowl you can find, even if it is your empty swimming pool...
  Beat the eggs until light.
  Add the sugar, mix well.
  Add the veggie oil, zucchini, and vanilla, and mix again.

  Now sift the (5) dry ingredients in a separate bowl. This one can be normal sized.
  Add the dry mix in small amounts to the swimming pool full of the egg-zucchini mixture.
  Continue mixing until it is all blended. This takes about four hours.
  Now add the chopped nuts. Note: I accidentally bought only 1/2 cup of walnuts, so I subbed in a big handful of     pecans. Still delish!

  Prepare loaf pans (either four large bread pans or eight small ones) by smearing with soft butter then dusting with a little flour and cinnamon. Add lots of the thick, wonderful, crunchy batter to each and bake at 350* for close to an hour. Just wait for the fragrance to overwhelm your soul then test the bread. Clean knife = done. Easy peasy!
   I used both metal and glass pans to get all the batter baked, and every single loaf came out perfectly. The finished bread all slid right out of the slightly cooled pans, still steaming, perfectly in tact, and wonderful.

   Thank you Martha Stewart for this classic recipe! It makes enough for me, the lovely ladies who run the front desk at Handsome's office, and our neighbors. And all of Rhode Island, probably, although I have never been there. This bread is dense and heavy, too, so one slice is like a meal.

   I am not exaggerating. This morning I plated myself two skinny slices with an orange and can barely finish it. In other news, this week I'm reading Same Kind of Different as Me for Friday night's book club meeting. It is so good you guys. Can't wait to talk to you about it.

   What are you cooking with your abundant zucchini? They continue to just tumble off the vines here, so I am happy to collect recipes.

Buy Bigger Bowls

Linking up with Mama Kat today!


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