by Rachael Bender
This year my garden has exactly one zucchini plant. Multiple tomato plants, four basil, a few dill, and some parsley. But only one zucchini.
However, this zucchini plant has all but taken over almost an entire garden box - spreading itself out into the aisles of the garden, twisting into the tomatoes, and forcing the relocation of two pepper plants. Seriously, it looks like Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors”; in fact, every time I water the garden, I can hear it saying, “Feed me, Seymour!”
So I have spent the whole summer looking for new ways to use all my zucchini.
To my welcome surprise, while reading Gail Simmons book, Talking with My Mouth Full, I was drawn to the section where she writes about how, while she was growing up, her mother used zucchinis for everything, instead of more traditional ingredients. Yes! Someone who understands.
Inspired, I decided to just start putting zucchini in everything, but started out, as most people do, with baked goods. I have a recipe I like for zucchini muffins, but the finished product tastes more like a spice cake than anything else. I could slap some icing on one and call it a cupcake without anyone noticing.
This time, I was looking for more of a bread recipe, where the zucchini is the star, not the cinnamon or the nutmeg. I thought, let’s take my mother-in-law’s beloved banana bread recipe, swap zucchini for the bananas and see how it turns out.
Good thing I made two loaves. Not only did my husband love it, but my sister claimed a loaf for herself. It is moist, flavorful, and uses up at least some of the zucchini that I’ve enjoyed all summer from my garden — although there’s still a lot more to left. I’m open to more suggestions!
1-1/4 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg (beaten)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the shredded zucchini with the melted butter, then add the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture, then fold in the flour until well-incorporated. Add just a little cinnamon and nutmeg, if using, and the walnuts, again, if you’re using them.
Pour into a buttered loaf pan and tap the pan on the counter to help remove any air bubbles. Bake about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Enjoy!