The Best Zucchini Bread

zucchini loaves

It’s that time of year again for our proliferate zucchini.  Cucurbita pepo, a member of the cucumber/melon family, which originated in Mexico, was not only grown by Central and South Americans, but also by our own  Native Americans, long before the Europeans arrived.  Nonetheless, the version we know in the U.S. today is a variety of summer squash developed in Italy.

In actuality this is a fruit, not a vegetable, as it contains seeds.  This fruit’s male and female counterparts exist in separate plants; usually these are present together in one plant.  In the biological world, the female produces ovules, the equivalent of eggs, while the male produces pollen, which is like sperm in the animal kingdom.  Birds and especially bees transfer this pollen from the individual male to the female zucchini plants, producing abundant fruit, providing both these individual organisms reside together in any given garden.

I have a proven recipe to make use of this fertile squash, in which I suggest utilizing the health-promoting ingredients grapeseed oil and coconut sugar.

Grapeseed along with coconut and avocado oils can be heated to high temperatures without producing carcinogens.  It is mild in flavor; thus, it is ideal for baking.

Comparing refined with coconut sugar, we see very little difference in their nutritional profiles on the surface; their caloric and carbohydrate content is very similar.  Such figures, however, don’t tell the hidden benefits of this healthier coconut sweetener which is barely processed; it is obtained by heating the sap of the coconut flower until most of the liquid is evaporated.  This alternative has a little more nutrition, as it contains small amounts of zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium, where the refined version holds empty calories.  More importantly, coconut sugar possesses a much lower glycemic index; this greatly reduces any tendency to spike the blood sugar, making it a possible substitute for those dealing with milder forms of blood sugar problems.  Always be sure to check with your healthcare specialist concerning your own personal diet.

I use this “healthy” substitute in both my zucchini and banana breads; see Banana Bread (2017/05/29).

My larder perpetually boast of one or the other of these, both of which I make with freshly ground, organic, hard red spring wheat berries.  These specific berries contain a variety of nutrients including vitamin E, calcium, B vitamins, folate, and potassium; one serving also provides 20% of the daily value of dietary fiber, 8% of needed iron, and the same amount of protein as found in an egg, or 6 grams. Breads last for lengthy periods of time, when made with this freshly ground flour.

To easily bake these perfect loaves in the off-season months, I encourage you to freeze plenty of this grated fruit/vegetable, in 1-cup packages, while the abundance lasts.

References:

https://www.thespruce.com/history-of-zucchini-1807689

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/all-about-zucchini-zbcz1405

biologicalthinking.blogspot.com/2011/07/birds-do-it-bees-do-iteven-zucchinis-do-it.html

grinding flour with kitchen aid

Zucchini Bread  Yields: 2 loaves.  Total prep time: 1 1/2 hr/  active prep time: 30 min/  baking time: 1 hr.

3 cups flour  (Freshly ground provides the highest quality; use 2 cups organic, hard red spring wheat berries to make 3 cups fresh ground flour; see photo.)

1 tsp salt  (Real Salt is important for optimum health; available in health section at local supermarket.)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

4 tsp cinnamon  (Our local Fred Meyer’s has an excellent, organic, Korintje cinnamon in bulk inexpensively.)

3 eggs

1 cup oil  (Grapeseed oil is important here; it may be heated to high temperatures without damage; available reasonably at Trader Joe’s.)

2 1/4 cups sugar  (Coconut sugar is best; always available at Traders and at times Costco.)

3 tsp vanilla extract  (Ask vacationers to bring a liter bottle back from Mexico; this is of the highest quality and dirt cheap.)

mixing ingredients

2 cups of zucchini  (If using frozen zucchini, remove 1 tbsp of liquid from each thawed 1-cup package, which need to be thawed in a dish; it is best to freeze these ahead, while it is available; see photo.)

1 cup nuts, optional

Spray oil  (Our local Winco-brand coconut spray oil is best.)

Flour for dusting pans

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray and lightly flour two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans (coconut spray oil is important for flavor).
  2. If grinding fresh flour, do so now; see above photo.
  3. Beat eggs in a large bowl, add sugar, blend until creamy.  Beat in oil and vanilla well.
  4. Place flour in a large bowl; stir in salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon vigorously with a fork, or shake all in a sealed gallon-size storage bag.
  5. Mix flour mixture into butter/egg mixture; while adding flour, do not over-beat, as this toughens the bread.
  6. Fold in zucchini.  Add optional nuts.
  7. cooling zucchini loaves in pan

    Pour in prepared pans; bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the loaf responds when pressed with finger; may also test with a toothpick, which will come out clean when done.  Do not over-bake, as this will continue to cook some, while cooling for 10 minutes, in the pan, set on a rack; see photo.

  8. This is magnificent, health-giving bread!

Apple Pancake

baked apple pancake

baked apple pancake

Our pastor shared that her husband, our other pastor, made an apple pancake to bless her, when he returned home from the men’s advance this year.  (Note: my church goes on advances, not retreats!)  Her email said that she had really missed him during his absence.  His offering of this pancake was a sacrificial act to demonstrate his love, serving her promptly upon his return.

I have witnessed what holy matrimony is by watching the relationship between these two.  Here there is honor, respect, and mutual edification at all times.  They esteem one another, by submitting first to God and then to each other; in this way their individual needs are met so they can live fully in perfect peace.  Through watching them closely, I learn to joyously submit in my marriage to Jesus.  My gratitude to them is great.

This exceptional souffle is a great entrée or breakfast meal for special occasions; it pleases beyond words the sweet tooth of the child in each of us.  May we follow the example of my pastor and use this recipe as a tool to honor those special to us.  These directions are easy to follow; yet, the outcome is a work of art, a display of love.

Our prized pancake weds together flavors, that strengthen and embellish each other.  Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page inspired me with their helpful contribution concerning the enhancement of foods, one with another.  For instance, they list “food matches made in heaven” in Culinary Artistry.  This comprehensive list, with its apt name, includes superb parings for apples.  My favorite are: bacon, cheese, currants, maple syrup, oatmeal, nuts, raisins, rosemary, sausages, sour cream, and yogurt.1

Among Dornenburg and Page’s classic poetic unions for apples are: brown sugar, caramel, cinnamon, cream, custard, and vanilla.  Indeed, this dish is a testimony of the symphonic joining of these outstanding ingredients, for here they are baked together as one glorious whole.2

This book teaches beautiful truths about how foods work in harmony, by employing either specific techniques or adding various ingredients.  Our authors write: “One flavor can overwhelm another, while in smaller quantity, as an accent, the same flavor has the power to bring out the other.”  We supplement sweetness with a pinch of salt when making fudge, while a touch of sugar is required to complete tart balsamic vinaigrette (see balsamic vinaigrette, 2016/08/22).  Such small additions intensify the main ingredient, giving relative prominence to it. However, too much of them will destroy the finished food.3

The above made me think of my acting days in community theatre: there I learned not to upstage my fellow actor, or steal away from his critical moment.  However this truth transcends acting: we all need to uphold our partner’s performance by downplaying our own.

Much like salt used in cooking, we can augment each other tastefully in our relationships-whether this be in holy matrimony or God-given friendships; thus, we grow together.  Let us regard our loved ones carefully by being salt and light to them.  Begin practicing this principle, by entertaining someone sumptuously this Valentine’s Day, with this triumphant apple pancake.

  1. Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page, Culinary Artistry (Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1996), p. 88.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid., p. 47.
prepping ingredients for apple pancake

ingredients for apple pancake

Apple Pancake  Yields: 2-3 servings.  Total prep time: 1 hr & 10 min/  active prep time: 20 min/  baking time: 50 min.

Note: this is especially good served with Aidell’s natural sausage-their spicy mango with jalapeno gives a beautiful hot, spicy contrast; you may choose to double the recipe, providing you have 2 10-inch Pyrex pie plates, as cold left-overs are great with vanilla ice cream!)

10 inch Pyrex pie plate

5 tbsp of butter

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour  (If desired, grind 1/3 cup organic,

soft winter white wheat berries to make 1/2 cup flour.)

1/2 cup unbleached white flour  (Bob’s Red Mill organic is my favorite; note you may choose to omit the whole wheat flour and use all unbleached white.)

1/2 tsp salt

5 large eggs, beaten

1 cup milk  (May use alternative milks, such as almond or soy; soy has estrogen-like qualities, important for women in menopause.)

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract  (I use a high quality and terribly inexpensive Mexican vanilla, which I get through friends traveling there.)

 

1/2 cup brown sugar  (Organic is best; may be found at Trader Joe’s and at times Costco.)

1/2 cup granulated sugar  (Organic is available in a 2 lb package at Trader’s, or in a more economical 10 lb bag at Costco.)

2 tbsp cinnamon   (A superb, organic Korintje cinnamon is available in bulk, at Portland’s local Fred Meyer’s.)

2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced very thin

 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grind flour, if you are using fresh-ground.
  3. Place butter in a 10-inch Pyrex pie plate.  Melt butter in oven.
  4. In a medium/large bowl, mix together flour and salt; blend in eggs and milk; stir in vanilla.  Set aside.
  5. When butter is melted, pour batter in pie plate.  Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until edges are puffed up and golden brown.
  6. Immediately prepare apples: first blend sugars and cinnamon in a medium/large bowl, then cut and add apple slices; mix well.  Sugars will get wet (see photo).  Set aside.
  7. When pancake is puffed up after 20-25 minutes, quickly remove from oven and distribute apple mixture evenly in the hollow made by the edges.
  8. Return to oven as fast as possible and bake another 20-25 minutes, or until pancake is deep brown (see top photo).
  9. Serve immediately.  This is a heaven-sent treat!