In one of my favorite books about food, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver writes about her experience with “Zucchini Wars.” You may be picturing galloping hoards hurling green, oblong grenades at each other, but in fact, Zucchini Wars are the annual challenge in the South (where Kingsolver lives on her farm) to rid oneself of excess zucchinis in July. Zucchini seems to be one of those plants that has taken to the old adage “bloom where you are planted” like gangbusters, thriving in any condition to yield a bumper crop year after year. Kingsolver contemplates the concept of an automobile engine that runs on zucchini, and–my favorite line in the chapter–recalls Garrison Keillor’s quote that “July is the only time of year when country people lock our cars in the church parking lot, so people won’t put squash on the front seat. I used to think that was a joke.”
Presumably, this pursuit of using up all your over-abundant zucchini explains the origins of zucchini bread. I can think of no other reason why someone would look at this:
and think of this:
For a long time, I was skeptical of zucchini bread (and reasonably so, I’d say). I wouldn’t jump at the chance to eat asparagus bread or bok choy bread–at least not as a sweet breakfast–so what makes zucchini bread any different?
Frankly, I don’t really know. Except that people don’t seem to have major harvests of asparagus or bok choy to get off their hands, so those haven’t taken off in the form of quick breads (yet). But if you add sugar and other yummy ingredients to just about anything, it seems to work as a breakfast treat.
Here in Arizona, we definitely don’t have Zucchini Wars, but I occasionally end up with a zucchini or two I somehow didn’t use as planned. Enter this recipe. It does the trick of using up my zucchini without me resorting to a clandestine Zucchini Drop in someone’s car while they innocently worship at church. (Though I do live just a quarter mile from my church…wonder what else I could conveniently offload…) Once I finally tried zucchini bread, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it–the zucchini adds a colorful little crunch you don’t usually find in a quick bread. And since the other ingredients are standard muffin-y things like brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon, you still feel like you’re eating something light and sweet, not a dinner-time side dish.
And now I’m off to develop my soon-to-be famous Asparagus Bread recipe…
(Adapted from Allrecipes.com)
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. vegetable oil
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
3 tsp. vanilla
2 c. grated zucchini
1. Grease two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, applesauce, oil, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just mixed. Stir in zucchini until completely incorporated. Pour into prepared loaf pans.
4. Bake 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 2 loaves.