Thursday, July 22, 2010

CSA Week 5-Zucchini Takedown Bread

It's that time of summer when the zucchini start to proliferate. When my neighbor brought the CSA bag over last week, we both looked at the zucchini and quickly withdrew our arms. “I got one last week,” she said, implying that it was my turn. But this pepo was twice the size of the previous one. I realized that the summer squash were secretly plotting a take over, and they were infiltrating my house via the CSA bag.

I quickly subdued the zucchini, first brandishing it above my head to show it's size and fortitude to anyone who might care (no one seemed to but me), and then proceeded to grate it, knowing that if the squash were going to take over my house, it would be in the form of a baked good.

I looked online for a zucchini bread recipe and found one at 101 Cookbooks, one of my favorite food blogs. Author Heidi Swanson is right on in saying that “You'll no doubt notice that most zucchini bread recipes you come across yield two loaves. Why? Because if you were to only make one, you wouldn't put a respectable dent in the zucchini supply.” She's right. This monstrosity made two beautiful and delicious loaves of bread. The addition of Garam Masala (original recipe called for curry powder) gave it a special aroma that perfectly complimented the squash. Zucchini, 0: Otehlia, 1.

Ingredients (other than a few minor changes, I followed her recipe)

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
zest of two lemons
1/3 cup poppy seeds (optional)
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup fine grain natural cane sugar or brown sugar, lightly packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium, or 1 extra large), skins on, squeeze some of the moisture out and then fluff it up again before using

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon curry powder or Garam Masala (optional)

Special equipment: two 1 pound loaf pans (5 x 9 inches)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter the two loaf pans, dust them with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pans with a sheet of parchment. If you leave a couple inches hanging over the pan, it makes for easy removal after baking. Just grab the parchment "handles" and lift the zucchini bread right out.

In a small bowl combine the walnuts, poppy seeds, lemon zest, and ginger. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini (low speed if you are using a mixer).

In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and curry powder. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition.

By hand, fold in the walnut, poppy seed, lemon zest, and crystallized ginger mixture. Save a bit of this to sprinkle on the tops of the zucchini loaves before baking for a bit of texture. Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist, not unlike a butter cream frosting.

Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Make sure it is level in the pans, by running a spatula over the top of each loaf. Bake for about 40-45 minutes on a middle oven rack. I like to under bake my zucchini bread ever so slightly to ensure it stays moist. Keep in mind it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the oven as it is cooling. Remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pan for about ten minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling - if you leave them in their pans, they will get sweaty and moist (not in a good way) as they cool.

Makes 2 loaves.


RCakeWalk said...

mmmm. This looks good - I have to try it, and so true about those zucchini. I eat my fill of it fried with a little butter and onion, but then usually end up with copious amounts frozen for breads just like these! (Last year, I discovered an awesome chocolate zucchini bundt cake over at Mostly Foodstuffs - and it too uses 3 cups up. Not to mention, that it is out of this world good!)

Leslie said...

I love zucchinis. They do grow like mad this time of the year. My fave new way of preparing them is by slicing them thinly (coat in olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper)and roasting them in the oven until they are crisp. PS love the updated look of your blog :)

Otehlia said...

Those other preparations sound great. I like zucchini on kebabs, too. Yeah, I should just freeze some to use later, eh?

Helen said...

I make this recipe religiously and always get rave reviews. I actually prefer ground ginger for the texture of this bread and use Penzey's sweet curry powder and then use less sugar. One of my favourites!