Spiced Zucchini Bread: Late Summer’s Sweet Garden Delight…

August 8th, 2010 § 3 comments § permalink

A Sweetly Scented Summer Kitchen – Zucchini Bread – Image ⓒ Michaela at TGE

This past week has been a really busy one for me. I’ve been working on a rush project: a garden design for a private residence with an upcoming wedding. The plant lists and orders were all due and placed on Friday, and I completed the finished drawings and site plans yesterday. I was called in to design this garden for a colleague’s landscaping company, and installation of this very large garden will take place next week, while she is away. So, for the next few days, I will be busy working with my friend’s crew, overseeing the layout. With the wedding right around the corner, everyone wants the garden to look lovely — especially the garden designer!

When my weekly schedule is this busy, I have little free time in the evening, so I try to cook and bake on the weekend to prepare meals for the days ahead. Last Saturday and Sunday I made my first loaf of simple sourdough bread (from my own starter), prepared several cold pasta dishes, and gathered armloads and baskets full of produce from the garden to freeze, dry and enjoy fresh. I also baked two loaves of delicious zucchini bread, and I ate very well last week. This week, I am running a bit behind and I need to get cooking today!

Detail from the Wedding Garden Design Drawings (At Meadow’s Edge) ⓒ Michaela at TGE

But before I head out to collect ripe orange-blossom tomatoes, fresh basil, beans and summer squash from the potager — and homegrown shiitake mushrooms from my logs in the forest— I have to share this wonderful zucchini bread recipe with you. I posted the photo below last weekend on my summer garden-party feature, and more than a few emails came in, asking for the recipe.  This is actually a very, very simple bread to bake. And although this recipe comes from a tattered old card in my box —many of the contents originating from my paternal great-grandmother— I have seen several similar versions online. The bread batter can be easily doubled to make two loaves (which I did, making one to keep and one to share). Be sure to freeze plenty of raw, grated zucchini to use for making bread in winter (if you’ve never tried freezing zucchini give it a shot – it’s very easy: simply grate raw zucchini and store by the cup or two cups in ziplock bags. Press out the air, zip it closed, date the bag, and store flat in your freezer)! In summertime, this bread is delicious on it’s own, or —as my mother used to serve it— warm with a bit of ever-so-slightly sweetened cream cheese. Delightful….

Zucchini Blossom – Image ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Zucchini Bread and Freshly Picked, Wild Blackberries – Image ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Small, Freshly Harvested Zucchini – Image ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Spiced Zucchini Bread

Ingredients for one loaf  ( easily doubled to make two – one to keep and one to share ! ):

1             Egg, lightly beaten

2/3         Cup sugar

1             Tsp. Vanilla (I always dribble in extra vanilla)

1 1/2      Cups freshly grated zucchini

1/3         Cup Melted butter (plus extra unmelted butter for bread pan)

1             Tsp Baking soda

Scant      Salt (a very small pinch)

1 1/2      Cups all purpose flour

1/4        Tsp nutmeg

1            Tsp cinnamon (plus a tiny extra shake)

1/2        Cup plump, juicy raisins

1/2        Cup chopped walnuts (up to you, but really yummy)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and butter one 5 x 9″ bread pan (or two if you double the recipe). Mix sugar, vanilla and eggs together in a large bowl. Add in the zucchini and the melted (but not hot) butter and blend well. In a smaller bowl, mix together the baking soda. salt and flour. Slowly add the flour mixture to the moist batter, stirring to blend it in as you go. Sprinkle in the spices while stirring and blend well. Finally add raisins and nuts and mix together lightly. Pour batter into the buttered pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes. Near the end of the baking time, insert a wooden stick at the center of the loaf. If the stick pull out clean, remove the bread from the oven and cool (in pan) for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling…

This bread is wonderfully moist, and delightful served with lightly sweetened cream cheese. Mmmmm….

Late Summer Delights – Zucchini Bread and Wild Blackberries – Image ⓒ Michaela at TGE

These strange old Bavarian plates were a gift to my family  from my Tante Maria

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Article and photographs ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE

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