Sunday, August 25, 2013

When Life Gives You Zucchini

Lemony Zucchini Bread
I'm still a rather novice gardener. Last year I attempted my first tomatoes, onions, and herbs all in neat little barrel planters lining in the unforgiving rocky "soil" of our rental house. This year, as an official homeowner, I went fairly ambitious with my first real garden. Our new home came equipped with four generously-sized raised beds and hours of sun exposure each day. Tomatoes, eggplant, kale, onions, cucumbers, and a large variety of herbs have been flourishing in spite of my previous reputation as a "brown thumb." I decided to plant one zucchini plant because they are such notoriously abundant producers. What surprised me, however, was not the amount, but the sheer size these monsters will swell into. I would check on the garden in the morning and find a couple of zucchinis not quite ready for harvest, that evening they had engorged to the size of footballs. I mean, I like zucchini enough, but what the hell am I going to do with forty pounds of it? Young, small zucchinis are tender and flavorful, but when they get too big, they lose much of their sweetness leaving them a poor option for a stir fry or gratin. Luckily, the pulp is excellent for baking and zucchini fritters. I grated up one of the larger beasts and came up with this tangy and moist quick bread. I dash of ginger powder gives it just the right bite. Enjoy it with your morning coffee as the summer begins to wane.

-  2 c. grated zucchini (use a large box grater)
- 1 c. white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 c. vegetable oil
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 c. sour cream
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- juice and zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger 

Preheat oven to 325˚ F and lightly spritz a 9x5" loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside. In a large bowl combine sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and oil. Beat with a whisk until ingredients are creamy and smooth. Stir in grated zucchini. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, and cinnamon. Slowly add dry ingredients to zucchini mixture, whisking as you go. Fold in sour cream and gently mix until batter is smooth. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, you're good to go! Allow bread to cool slightly before running a knife around the edge of the pan. Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool before slicing and serving. 

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