It's not quite zucchini season here yet in The Wine Box Garden, but all my zucchini flowers that are blooming gave me a hankering for zucchini bread. I love to cook with ingredients from my garden. In fact, it's one of the main reasons I garden at all; to have fresh, organically-grown ingredients at my disposal. There's nothing like eating fresh produce that was just picked. So far, only herbs, lettuce and strawberries have come from my garden to the kitchen this season. But soon.... soon, there will be fresh ingredients. For this recipe, I leaned on my local farmers at the farmers market for some great zucchini.
One of my go-to cookbooks for baking is The New Best Recipe cookbook from America's Test Kitchen (ATK), the patient geniuses behind Cooks' Illustrated. They make a dish about 30 different ways 60 different times just to come up with the "perfect" recipe. They test recipes, and kitchen equipment and taste-test condiments and other foods - just to find the very best result. When it came time to make zucchini bread, I decided to make theirs. How could I not? I know when I follow one of their recipes, it's going to be good.
Quick Note: They presented a couple of different variations on this recipe that I didn't follow/include. I chose the variation that I like best.
What I like about this recipe is that the inside is nice and moist while the outside is nice a firm and golden. It maintains its shape when you eat it - it doesn't become too crumbly or too mushy. The key is to drain as much water as you can from the zucchini as it holds a lot of water that can turn your bread into mush. Thanks to America's Test Kitchen for doing all that testing for me so I could just bake and enjoy this delicious zucchini bread recipe. Hope you'll give it a try too.
Now.....if only my own zucchini were ready to use...
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
1 pound zucchini, washed and dried, ends and stem removed, cut in half lengthwise, and seeded if using large zucchini
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 plain non-fat yogurt
2 large eggs, beaten lightly
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease the bottoms and sides of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan; dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Shred the halved zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or use a shredding attachment on a food processor. Toss zucchini in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
- Spread zucchini/sugar mix in a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl and allow to drain for 30 minutes.
- Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until combined. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and melted butter until combined. Set aside.
- After the zucchini has drained, place the zucchini in a double-layer cheese cloth and squeeze it until as much water is drained out as possible.
- Stir the zucchini and the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until combined. (The texture will be fairly thick.)
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
- Bake until the loaf is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 50-60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour before serving.
The bread can be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I'm Catherine, a small-space urban gardener in New Jersey (Zone 7a) who started gardening out of upcycled wooden wine boxes. For years, I wanted to try gardening, but didn't know where to start. I got up the nerve to give it a try - starting small with a single wooden wine box that turned an idea into reality. That reality quickly turned into my filling every sunny inch of space of my postage-stamp size lawn and turning it into a garden oasis. I grow mostly vegetables and herbs with some exception for fruits (when the squirrels and rabbits don't get to them first). I love learning from gardening communities (and lots of trial and error).
I hope one day to take all that I'm learning and apply it to a larger plot of land. To help me get there, I'm extending my learning through the University of Massachusetts, Stockbridge School of Agriculture's, Sustainable Food & Farming program. (I'm addicted to learning as much as I am to gardening.)
This blog isn't just for gardeners (although I hope it inspires some of you to try growing a plant or two). The recipes (food & cocktails) in theRecipes section of this blog contain ingredients that don't have to come from your own backyard. If you like visiting your local farmer's market(or even your grocery store) and would like to get some new recipes you can use with the fresh produce and herbs you get from your local growers, this blog will have plenty for you too.
In addition to gardening and cooking, I also love to visit and photograph my surroundings. I feel fortunate to have so many amazing places here in New York/New Jersey, where I live and work. Visits to local farms, farmer's markets, and cycling through rural farming areas help me feel connected and refreshed. share these experiences in theExploring section of the blog so that you might visit through proxy or be inspired enough to visit yourself.
With very few exceptions, all of the photographs on this site are ones I have taken myself. (For the photographers out there, I shoot with a Canon 7D and sometimes with my Lumix DMC-ZS15 compact camera.)
I hope this blog inspires you to grow, create, explore, and try something new. The best way to stay up-to-date is to follow me using the social buttons above, or click Subscribe and sign up for my email newsletters.
Happy Gardening and Healthful Living!