Sunday, June 26, 2011

Growing Bread

Anyone have any good tomato recipes?
I've mostly been eating them raw since I love them so!
So I don't know about your gardens, but ours is pretty much going crazy this time of year.  In one day I pulled off all these tomatoes- and I had a lot of pretty-close-to-ripe ones still on the plant! I guess if you are a farmer this may seem like a small yield, but for our two tomato plants I was pretty excited!  And, as every gardener knows, zuchinis are always rather prolific and it seems like every time I turn around there is another one to pick.  Just the other day I was feeling worried because I had given six away and picked a small one for us, leaving no more zukes on the plant. That afternoon, I wanted a little bigger squash than the one I had, so I thought I would just go double-check even though I knew there wouldn't be any mature ones yet.  But, like a champ our zuchini plant pulled through! When I went outside I was pleased to find not one, but two perfectly sized zuchinis just waiting to be picked.  It was like magic.
Don't worry these weren't the "perfectly sized" ones.
I had forgotten about these monsters over the weekend! :)
If you have a similar champion plant, you might find yourself wondering just how to prepare all that summer squash.  Well, I have lots of ideas, but for today let's start here, with a delightful, healthy, and slightly unexpected riff on the usual fate of excess zuchini.  I found this recipe for Zuchini Cornbread in this month's issue of Bon Appetit (more on the disconcerting changes to that mag later).  Give it a whirl, you'll be glad you did.
*A note: I don't think this zucchini bread will last outside of the fridge as long as regular cornbread does, because of the veggies in it.  So be warned;eat it quick (that won't be hard) or store it in the fridge for a few days.* 

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus a little more to grease the pan
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 largeish zucchini (10 oz.) I say large-ish because if you grow your own you don't want to use one of the really large ones (you know those baseball bat ones you forgot about that just grew and grew?) Yeah.  Don't use one of those babies.  This bread just isn't ready for that yet.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you could probably substitute white flour here if you don't have a nifty wheat grinder or whole wheat flour on hand.  I do, so I used wheat!)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (I only had regular salt, and mine turned out fine)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup medium grind cornmeal

1)  Grease a 9x5x3" loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2)  Trim zucchini ends, then slice 5-6 thin pieces to place on top of the bread.  Coarsely grate the remaining zucchini.  Now, even though this wasn't in the original recipe, I highly recommend wrapping that grated zucchini in a couple of layers of paper towels and then pressing down to release as much juice/water from the grated zucchini as possible.  After that, repeat the process with a clean kitchen towel and let zucchini sit until step four. If you skip this step, your zukes might be too watery and your bread may not cook properly.

3)  Melt butter over medium high heat in a small saucepan, then continue cooking 3 minutes (mine took longer) more until the butter solids at the bottom of the pan begin to turn golden brown. Scrape butter into medium bowl, then set aside and let cool. Once butter is cool, whisk in eggs and buttermilk.

4)  Dry zucchinis once more, then add to the buttermilk/egg mixture, stirring until well blended.

5)  Sift both flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl.  Whisk in cornmeal, then add zucchini mixture.  Fold just to blend, mixture will be very thick.  Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan and place reserved zucchini slices along the top of the bread in a line.

6)  Bake bread until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 55-65 minutes.  Let cool in pan for ten minutes, then remove to a wire rack and finish cooling.
Enjoy your home-grown bread!


  1. mmmm. Gotta love zuchinni! We like ours roasted in the oven with a little EVOO and fresh grated Parmesan sprinkled on top.

    Our poor garden never had a chance. All of our newly sprouted baby plants were sadly yanked from their beds by two little dears. All I have is a basil plant, and we made some mean spicy thai basil chicken.

  2. Taylor! I am so glad you found my blog! Man, reading your comment made me miss you and our Indian Hills days. I love both of your blogs! I have a personal one, too--I will message it to you via the FB! Hope life's great!