Zucchini Bread

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We’re turning the corner into late summer (where did it go?!) and right about now is when gardens seem to be overflowing with an abundance of zucchini just begging to be used up. Perhaps you have your own garden, you were given fresh zucchini by a generous neighbor, or just couldn’t resist the mounds of beautiful squash at the grocery store or farmer’s market. However you managed to snag them, you have a stash of zucchini to use and you need a recipe. Zucchini bread is a classic and, amazingly, one that I have not made before. I never used to be a big fan of squash, but I started turning the corner with zucchini in the last couple of years and so I added zucchini bread to my ever-growing list of foods I want to tackle. The gorgeous green squash have been tempting me every time I go to the store, so I finally decided to whip up a zucchini bread.

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I love quick breads because there are so, well, quick. You typically do not need to bust out your stand mixer (or even a hand mixer) and can have your bread in the oven in the time it takes to watch your favorite re-run. Although this recipe requires you to drain the zucchini for 30 minutes, don’t be put off – it’s actually the perfect amount of time to  prepare the rest of the recipe so once the zucchini is done draining, you quickly stir everything together in a bowl, scrape it into a loaf pan, and into the oven it goes!

This recipe strikes has the perfect balance of zucchini and bread; the loaf isn’t so loaded with zucchini that it looks like a green squash in loaf form and the zucchini isn’t hidden so much that you would never know what the predominant ingredient is. You can taste zucchini in every bite, but it isn’t overpowering, and the walnuts add a great contrasting flavor and texture.

What’s your favorite zucchini recipe? My grandma used to make awesome zucchini fritters!

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Some favorite quick breads:
Bananas Foster Banana Bread
Three Cheese Beer Bread

One year ago: Pain Ordinaire Careme (French Baguettes)

Zucchini Bread

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 55 to 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stems removed, cut in half lengthwise and seeded, each half cut into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) granulated sugar
½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped coarse
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon juice from 1 lemon
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Directions:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.

2. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process the zucchini and 2 tablespoons of the sugar until the zucchini is coarsely shredded, twelve to fifteen 1-second pulses. Transfer the mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set at least 2 inches over a bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can shred the zucchini (don't cut into 1-inch pieces) on the large holes of a box grater, toss with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and drain.

3. Meanwhile, spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a cooling rack and cool completely. Transfer the nuts to a large bowl; add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and whisk until combined. Set aside.

4. Whisk together the remaining ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, and melted butter until combined. Set aside.

5. After the zucchini has drained, squeeze the zucchini with several layers of paper towels to absorb excess moisture. Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.

6. Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool for at least 1 hour before serving. (The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.)