I actually have another post brewing in the WordPress dungeon, but since I am not done yet with the goods, I will delay that for the weekend.
Tonight I am putting up a quick one: Zucchini bread.
Summer in Japan is almost identical with zucchini for me. Well, since year 2002 anyway. Why? Because that’s the first time I ever picked up the cucumber-look-alike squash and experiment with its texture in cooking or generally eat it in abundance. (Did you know there is only 20 calories in 1 zucchini?)
I have to clarify that I’ve had zucchini long before 2002. It was Summer 1996 when I had zucchini for the very first time. I was on holiday in San Diego and my American host grandmother made some salad and I saw something resembling Japanese cucumber, but didn’t quite taste like one. It was very strange, because it’s almost like you were thinking you were eating chocolate and found out you were eating red beans. Such was my feeling about zucchini. Expecting cucumber, then get squashy blandness in return.
Fast forward. I lived a relatively zucchini-free live for some 6 years.
In 2002, the year I bought my first Jamie Oliver cookbook, The Naked Chef, the year when my culinary exploration began. I scanned through all the recipes in the book and quickly discovered that Jamie O uses a lot of courgettes. Courgettes this, courgette that, courgette everything.
What on earth is a courgette?
A quick Google search led me to understand that courgette is basically zucchini (and while we’re at it… aubergine means eggplant).
Hmm… I guess zucchini is not that odd after all. Jamie O uses it all the time! It must be good! (By now you must already pick up that I take whatever Jamie says with conviction. I trust the dude without a shadow of doubt!)
Since then… 2002, believe it or not, every time I see zucchini sold under 100 yen at a supermarket, I buy at least two. Every time.
Which is how I find myself in the position I am in today. I am having a zucchini overload! Out of habit, I still buy zucchinis even though I have asked Dana to pick up a bag for me when she was at Costco. I have 8 small Italian zucchinis in the fridge, plus the extra 4 big ones I picked up at the farmer’s market. Then when I stopped by Dana’s house last Sunday, she gave me another half-bag of beautiful Italian zucchinis. So many zucchinis!
So… I shall begin making something with it and my first thought went to zucchini bread. Deb Perelman at SmittenKitchen has a very nice recipe that I have made so many times without fail. I made the healthier version that she implied in the text…(fundamental difference in flour and oil composition, substituting some with healthier alternatives).
Do you have any zucchini overload? What do you do with it?
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil + 1/2 cup yoghurt
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 cup wholewheat flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Optional: 1 cup dried blueberries/raisins/cranberries/chocolate chips or combination of of all of them (keep the amount, though)
- Optional: 1/2 cup of almond/walnut/pecans
Tools: one large bowl, stand mixer/hand mixer/ your hands, whisk, 2 loaf pans
Active prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: between 50 – 60 minutes
- Preheat oven to 170C
- Grease two loaf pans (I wanted to use my Le Creuset terrine, so the sizes were not identical, but if you have it, use 2 of 20×10 cm loaf pans)
- Using a stand mixer/hand mixer/your own arms and hand whisk: whisk the eggs
- Add the yoghurt, oil and sugar, mix well
- Add zucchini and vanilla, mix well
- In a separate large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients
- Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture in increments, mix until all dry dough are moistened
- Divide the dough in the prepared pans. Bake loaves for about 50-60 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
- It’s tea time now. Enjoy!
Yields 2 loaves