September 30, 2007

Z is for Zucchini

I have had two big zucchini sitting next to the sink since Labor Day weekend when I scored some fresh garden goodness from my best friend's mom. (Thanks, Miss June!) I had more than two, but I made some zucchini casserole a few weeks ago. When zucchini are small, they are wonderful for stir-fry, but when they get too big, there are really only two thing I think you can do with them: fry them up, or make them into bread. I've been holding out for bread.

Finally, a weekend without a bunch of papers to grade or lessons to plan! And it just so happens this is the weekend something had to be done with the poor zucchini because they were getting tired and a limp on top from waiting around for me.

I wasn't sure where I'd find the recipe for zucchini bread, and I didn't feel right about calling my mom. For cryin' out loud! How could I have reached my age and not have a recipe for zucchini bread? I looked in some church cookbooks but didn't see quite the right recipe I had in mind. (I collect cookbooks, and those small-town Lutheran ladies do the best cookbooks!) Finally, I looked in my recipe box, which is where I found a recipe written in my mom's handwriting. For cryin' out loud! Of course I have a recipe for zucchini bread!

And it's a family recipe--from my Aunt Diana. If there was ever a woman who would have had a need for a zucchini recipe, it would have been my Aunt Diana. She always raised a HUGE garden, but then she did have seven kids to feed.

So, in case you ever find yourself the recipient of some large zucchini, please feel free to try my family's recipe. (In some parts of the country, zucchini just appears on your porch, whether you like it or not, in the middle of the summer season.)

Zucchini Bread

2 eggs, well beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups of sugar

2 cups grated zucchini

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon soda

Grate zucchini (unpeeled) on a medium grater. Do not mash. Add eggs, oil, sugar, orange rind, and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and add to liquid mix. Mix well and add 1 cup of nuts if you'd like.

Grease and flour 2 medium size loaf pans.

Bake at 350° 1 hour.

I don't know how my mother used to grate things like zucchini without a food processor. I don't think I'd have the patience. As it turns out, two large zucchini makes a quadruple recipe! I also added a carrot to the processor so the bread would have a little more color. You know, in case the green flecks aren't good enough.

Can you believe that this recipe calls for a whole cup of oil! Holy cow! I know you can replace some of that with applesauce, so it just so happens I had some jars of homemade applesauce (not too sweet) that I replaced about 3/4 of the oil with.

So, what do you do with a quadruple recipe? Well, in my family, we always freeze zucchini bread. It makes the best treat a few months later when you want a little something. You can easily cut it with a serrated knife when it is frozen, and you can either nuke it for a few seconds or eat it frozen. Seriously, we like it frozen sometimes.

I called my parents this morning to see if they knew about what time they'll be arriving on Thursday. Dad told me that it there was frost on the ground. Summer is over. He said that he didn't even get any zucchini--from his garden or anyone else's. Well, Dad, you'll never believe this, but I was the victim of a zucchini gifting, and we'll feast on zucchini bread next weekend! I'm putting a loaf in the freezer just for Dad.

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