I invited a few friends over to my house earlier this week for an evening of conversation, and since it’s the middle of summer and I am up to my eyeballs in zucchini, there was really only one thing I could possibly serve as a snack: zucchini bread.
Apparently my choice was just as obvious to others, too, because my aunt Barb and her friend Burma were cracking up when they walked into the house and saw the loaves of sweet bread just out of the oven.
“I knew it,” Barb told me. “I said to Burma, ‘If I know Charity, she’ll have some kind of snack, and it will probably be zucchini bread.'”
Of course, the timing couldn’t have been better for zucchini bread. But my aunt also knows that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in my family. My mom is legendary for her extensive use of zucchini back in the summers of my youth. One year we had zucchini scalloped, fried, pickled, baked, and sauteed. A different way every night.
I like knowing that what’s on the menu at my house is predictable based on what’s growing in the garden or what’s in the bins at the farmer’s market. (Actually, Barb wasn’t the only one that guessed that zucchini bread would be on the menu that night). I also like that other people in my life are attuned to the same rhythm of the growing seasons. (My friend Ann wrote about baking up some zucchini treats herself, today). And I really like zucchini. Now.
My mom is surprised, and probably a little smug, when I call her with stories of all the different ways I am cooking zucchini now. I grill it, roast it, layer it in a strata, or combine with eggplant to make ratatouille.
She even asked me for the recipe when I told her about the zucchini brownies I had made.
Here’s the recipe for Tuesday night’s zucchini bread — it’s from Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons Savannah Country Cookbook.
Yields 2 loaves
The flavor improves with age and the bread keeps well frozen. You can also substitute pumpkin for zucchini.
3 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup water
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients except for nuts in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients; fold into dry, and add nuts. Bake in two loaf pans for 1 hour, or until done.
NOTES: I left out the nuts, and the recipe worked great. Also, I made six mini loaves with this recipe. I can’t remember how much I adjusted the time, but just set the timer for less and watch it. Sides should pull away and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
For the zucchini brownie recipe, visit Ann’s blog.