Give zucchini bread a light, summery makeover
A common misconception is that zucchini are always prolific.
As with any other crop, the amount of rainfall and temperature fluctuations can affect their growth. Vine borers can turn a healthy zucchini plant to mush overnight. This year I would rate my zucchini crop as average, with each plant producing about two a week. There was no need to prowl the neighborhood at night dropping off sackfuls of squash.
Zucchini is a versatile fruit. Its mild, sweet flavor can stand on its own on the grill or be a star in a pasta dish.
I pick my zucchini when they are about eight inches in length and about an inch and a half in diameter. As they become larger, they lose their delicate flavor. The seeds are huge and the flesh is fibrous. Although they might seem like a bargain, pass up those “baseball bats” you see in some farmers’ markets.
Zucchini bread is a summertime favorite, but most recipes call for a mix of pumpkin pie spices. I like cinnamon as much as the next person, but even though the days are waning, I prefer a lighter flavor while the weather is still warm.
The lemon rosemary zucchini bread below is adapted from a recipe found on the website SimplyRecipes.com. The lemon/rosemary combination produces a fragrant, moist bread with a savory accent. Be sure to use fresh rosemary, as the dried version would be overpowering.
You can bake the loaves in two 4x9-inch loaf pans, but I prefer using five mini loaf pans so I can freeze a couple of loaves to have ready for unexpected guests.
Lemon Rosemary Zucchini Bread
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup oil
11/4 cups sugar
Zest of one lemon
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 4x9-inch loaf pans or 5 mini loaf pans.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and rosemary. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Beat in the sugar, melted butter and olive oil. Stir in the lemon zest and grated zucchini and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each addition.
Divide the batter into the loaf pans or mini loaf pans. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes for the larger pans, and about 35 minutes for the smaller pans.
To test for doneness, insert a bamboo skewer into the center; it should come out clean. Remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from their pans to cool on a rack.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.