With her tan gardening gloves on and trowel in hand, I follow my mom around our gardening boxes.
We toss cherry tomatoes in our mouths, warm from the sun and popping with juice. She shows me which onions are ready to pick for dinner and we bend down together to smell her basil plant.
And then we spot it. The one zucchini we had missed, under the dark green leaves, cool and hidden from the sun. She looks at me and our eyes get widen and we smile.
An overgrown, forgotten zucchini means one thing… zucchini bread.
Large zucchinis lack the tenderness and flavor needed for most fresh dishes. But with their incredible moisture, they are perfect for baking. Zucchini bread is mild, easy and lends itself as a base for fragrant lemon, nutty pecans or sweet chocolatey tones.
This zesty loaf should be toasted with butter and eaten with your morning cup of choice. A healthy amount of nuts adds a welcome texture among the soft, moist crumb.
It should be piled high with the berry of the moment and a dab of whipped cream.
Or it should be sliced and sandwiched around a cold, creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Spot an overgrown, forgotten zucchini and let your eyes get big with all the possibilities.
Makes 2 loaves
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini (half small grater/half large grater for texture)
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup chopped and toasted nuts
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans.
- Beat eggs until fluffy and light. Beating well after each addition, stir in sugar, oil, vanilla, zucchini and lemon peel.
- Sift dry ingredients together. Add dry ingredients and nuts to egg mixture and fold until just combined.
- Pour into prepared loaf pans.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean!