Zucchini Pineapple Bread
Although I’m not a huge fan of veggies, zucchini is such a comfort food of sorts for me. My grandfather passed away when I was 5 years old, and although I was young I was still old enough at that point to have some great memories of him. One is of him bouncing me on his knee and singing a little ditty to me in Italian. Another is of him and my uncle taking my cousin and I to the local park to fish and feed the ducks. Among some others, my absolute favorite memories are of him in his garden. He had a sprawling garden and grew countless vegetables: among those I remember are at least five different varieties of lettuce, spinach, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, squash, and every type of herb you can imagine. I used to “help” in the garden by putting one of my baby feet on his shovel when he was digging. I can vividly recall my mom and grandma going out to pick beans, tomatoes, and lettuce; when they came back in the kitchen would be dancing with the smell of fresh garden produce. Such an amazing smell! Now, as anyone who grows zucchini knows, once it gets going, you have zucchini coming out of your ears! My grandma has a stash of zucchini recipes in her collection that took full advantage of the garden bounty, and this is one of my absolute favorites.
As most zucchini breads are, this one is extremely moist, thanks to the combination of zucchini and the pineapple. And it’s a fabulous flavor combination as well! In addition to the pineapple, there are also chopped dates and walnuts in this bread. I love, love, love dates so that automatically makes this bread one of my favorites. When I was younger I loved to eat a slice of it slathered with cream cheese. Breakfast of champions!
Although I didn’t know him for very long, I think my grandfather would be proud of the interest I have taken in gardening (even if it is only containers at this point), and the love I have for enjoying truly good food. I wish he were still here so we could hang out in the garden together!
P.S. If you happened to see the Date, Rum & Pecan Ice Cream and are interested in making it, one bag of Dole dates just so happens to be the perfect amount for the ice cream and this bread :)
Zucchini Pineapple Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups shredded zucchini, drained and water squeezed out
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9x5-inch loaf pans; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract until thick and combined (I used a hand mixer on medium speed, you could also use a whisk with a lot of elbow grease). Add the flour mixture and mix on low (or with a wooden spoon) until combined - the batter will be very thick. Using a spoon, gently stir in the zucchini and pineapple until evenly distributed. Lastly, stir in the chopped dates and walnuts.
4. Divide the batter between the two loaf pans. Bake for 1 hour, or until the tops are golden brown and a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean. (If you see the loaves are browning too much, cover with foil.)
5. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks to finish cooling completely.