An Excess of Zucchini: Battle of the Recipes
Wondering what to do with all that zucchini filling gardens and farmers markets? Think zucchini bread. I made vegan and non-vegan bread for my family (and to freeze) and listed my tips accumulated along the way. Learn from my mistakes and successes.
For the past two weekends, I have found myself wading through an excess of zucchini. As I’m sure many of you have noticed, summer is reaching its height and plants are bursting with fruits and vegetables. The zucchini plants in my backyard are no exception. My father gleefully announced last week that he had found a few majorly overlooked zucchini growing in the backyard, but neglected to actually do more than just alert the family. Knowing that over-sized vegetables often taste bitter, I took it upon myself to research whether the mammoths on the kitchen counter were suitable for cooking. I learned that the bitterness is actually a result of moisture content and growing conditions, meaning that these large veggies shouldn’t be counted out. Just in case the zucchini turned out bitter, I decided that baking was my best route for preservation. I love good zucchini bread, and, miraculously, it seems to make a great addition to any meal (OK, maybe it just makes a great dessert after any meal). No matter when you eat it, zucchini bread comforts the soul–and adds a little padding to that bikini body. The best solution for the temptation that is zucchini bread is to share it. Perfect as a loaf or muffins, zucchini bread is meant to be handed out to family and friends…then frozen because no one can keep up with this much zucchini!
As I prepared a recipe from the blog “Smitten Kitchen,” my vegan father walked in as I was cracking the eggs. He promptly requested his own vegan zucchini bread, and, seeing as it was his zucchini, I obliged. Unfortunately, by the time I prepared said vegan bread the next day, he had already dug in to the non-vegan bread because he embraces the little known “vegan before dessert diet” that rivals “vegan before 6.” Needless to say, the Smitten Kitchen recipe was a great success and my zucchini muffins were gone in about two days. But ever the dutiful daughter, I also prepared a double batch of Joy the Baker’s almost-vegan zucchini bread (when you get six cups of shredded zucchini from one vegetable, you go a little crazy). My mom, who originally claimed she didn’t even want to try the vegan-version, decided that the recipe was even better than the non-vegan bread. The vegan bread was denser and richer than the fluffy, almost cake-like muffins. I liked this recipe because, while similar to other egg-free recipes, it reduces the sugar and incorporates flax seed meal, enriching the cake with omega three and antioxidants. Unfortunately, the recipe is also misleading about the pan size to bake the bread in. Be sure not to overfill the 8 x 4 pan, the bread rises quite a bit. Instead, leave about an inch of space between the batter and the top of the pan. Fill up a muffin tin or bake a small second loaf, just don’t fill the pan to the brim assuming that the bread must not rise too much. It does and having your nostrils assaulted with the smell of burning batter is quite unpleasant. Also, be sure to factor in much longer cooking time for the bread–mine took roughly an hour and a half, not an hour. To boost the health content of the bread, even more, substitute half the flour for King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour. The bread tastes just as good with less guilt. Also, try adding grated ginger to the batter to follow the new ginger craze and add a little zip.
The original recipe for Almost Vegan Zucchini Bread can be found here: http://joythebaker.com/2011/10/almost-vegan-zucchini-bread/.
The Smitten Kitchen recipe can be found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2007/07/summer-of-the-bats/.