In the past, I’ve heard a particular label bandied about when discussing my eating habits: “picky.” I’ll admit, I have a fair few objections as to what I will or won’t eat, and I’m not the most adventurous soul when it comes to trying new things. But every now and then, I’ll venture outside of my culinary comfort zone, and most recently, that involved dreaded zucchini.
Chief amongst zucchini’s offending qualities is that it looks almost exactly like a cucumber from the outside. The same oblong shape, the same smooth shiny green skin (okay, maybe not the same exact green, but pretty darn close). As someone who loves cucumber with a borderline obsessive passion, their twins were nothing more than disappointment during my childhood.* Biting into a cucumber is cold, refreshing bliss. Biting into a zucchini? Not so much.
Zucchinis fall into the category of “summer vegetables I could do without,” alongside tomatoes and eggplant. But not only is this food blog blasphemy, it’s also difficult to visit a farmer’s market in July or August and not be confronted by the fact that sometimes, pickiness gets in the way of enjoying summer’s bounty. (I have no such issues in the summer fruit department, which is why I have cherry stains on my clothes and peach juice on my computer.)
Naturally, the best way to introduce yourself to something new is to envelop it in sugar and flour and eggs and oil and cinnamon and nutmeg and walnuts. As my cousin so astutely observed, “it doesn’t taste like zucchini at all … which is a good thing.” The bread does taste of spice, and of nuttiness, aided by the walnuts and a good amount of whole wheat flour. This bread is quite earnest, with the whole wheat, the use of oil instead of butter and of course, the vegetable as its base. Far from dessert, it’s perfect for breakfast or as something to nibble on with your afternoon tea.
And well if zucchini tastes this good in other forms, I may have to switch it to “summer vegetables I like.”
*I think this is the reason why I hate pickles, which also share a resemblance to the cucumber. If it looks like a cuke, it darn well better taste like a cuke in my opinion.
Note: The awesome folks at Butter Lane selected me as their Blogger of the Week, for which I’m extremely thankful (not just because I get half-off on cupcakes all week). As I’ve said before, their cupcakes are delicious, so if you’re in the NYC area, check them out!
Adapted from Paula Deen
I live in possibly the only household in America that has no all-purpose flour. So instead, I used cake flour and whole wheat flour. While the cake flour is wholly unnecessary (just sub in an equal amount of all-purpose), I highly recommend using the whole wheat if you have it. I also used some brown sugar, just for kicks.
- 1 cup all-purpose or sifted cake flour
- 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 cup grated zucchini
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (I was out, so I used white vinegar instead)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (you can also use pecans)
1) Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease a 9-x-5 loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, eggs, milk, zucchini and lemon juice.
2) Mix the wet ingredients into the flour mixture, then fold in the chopped nuts. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and top with additional nuts.
3) Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.