Dedicated to Summer

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We’ve had a good run this summer – and despite the 90 degree weather we’ve had recently, it’s almost over. I made cookie dough cookie cups for a new birthday party tradition, baked in an overheated, unairconditioned kitchen and far more than I had time to report on this summer.  And then there was the zucchini.

I kind of think the zucchini is like the Chicago weather. A lot of times, plain zucchini is not very good. But most people know you can make it amazing, especially if it’s in season. There are summer boat rides, $2 sangrias on amazing patios, street fairs and more ice cream cones than you know what to do with. Grilled zucchini salads, pizzas, zucchini bread pancakes with a cream cheese topping and then spiced zucchini bread muffins. And, of course, the chocolate chip zucchini bread you keep telling yourself is healthy because it’s whole wheat. Just don’t eat the whole loaf by yourself, and it’s fine.

For some reason, it’s just not everyone’s’ favorite. It’s no pumpkin bread. And it certainly isn’t banana bread either. They’re all delicious and similar in many ways, but zucchini is rarely the front-runner. Kind of like how Chicago often plays third string to New York and L.A. It’s really an unsung hero. For those few months of summer when zucchini is in season, you have to take advantage of the versatile vegetable in all its glory. I know I certainly have.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (obviously)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups grated zucchini (About 1 very large zucchini)
1 cup olive oil
3 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grate zucchini by hand. If you want a lighter zucchini flavor, you can finely chop it in your food processor.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar and oil. Stir in the vanilla and zucchini.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients, leaving out the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into the wet, and then fold in your chocolate chips. You can also add in chopped nuts.
  5. Spray or butter your pans – you should be able to fill two loaf pans, or make one loaf and about a dozen muffins.
  6. Bake loaf for about 50-60 minutes. If you make muffins instead they will take about 25 minutes.

Share it, save it for winter or devour it all at once. If this sweltering weather keeps up, we might just have zucchini year-round. Not that I could let a pesky little thing like weather ruin my day – or tell me what I can and cannot bake.

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