Zucchini Bread

A garden is one of life’s little pleasures, one that I had learned to love at an early age. I watched, curious, as my dad drove the garden pitchfork into the dull, gray soil and lifted out a huge chunk of earth. Turning it over and throwing it just ahead of the freshly-spaded row, the soil magically turned a deep chocolate color and giant night-crawlers wriggled out of holes in the clods of dirt. It was an annual rite of spring that my dad performed every year.

Fresh made Zucchini Bread

The sweat ran off his brow in a steady stream as he turned over the entire patch of ground. It wasn’t large by any standard, but my dad got the garden ready every year in machine-like fashion, stopping for a single beer only when he was totally finished. The results of his labor were the luscious tomatoes for soups and salads, sweet green beans, crunchy radishes and mild onions, along with a few potatoes when my mom would ask for some.

One of the unfortunate things about getting older is that time for things like spading a garden gets harder to come by, and the increased responsibilities of one’s job take their toll as well. My father succumbed to a heart attack at an early age but he left me an incredible legacy… part of which was the joy of turning over the soil every spring and prepping the earth for my own garden.

Heidi and I now look forward to a garden full of fresh flavors every year: the tomatoes make excellent juice, sauce and catsup, and the onions, radishes and green beans are still part of the seasonal plantings. But we have also started growing zucchini, something that lends itself to myriad dishes.

One item that has become an annual staple is zucchini bread, made from a recipe handed down by Heidi’s grandmother. It’s excellent when it comes from the oven, but it can be frozen well and enjoyed weeks later. It’s a perfect time to get some zucchini planted; the wait for the long and dark green zucchini is definitely worth it… as is this recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup oil (corn or peanut)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups zucchini (grated with peel) remove seeds from large zucchini
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda in 1 tsp boiling water
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I prefer Ghiradelli brand)
  • Raisins or chopped dates (optional)

Directions

The best and fastest way to grate zucchini is with a Kitchen Aid with grater attachment.  Obviously the old-fashioned hand shredder will always suffice.

Grated Zucchini

Mix all ingredients well except the nuts, chips and raisins until well blended. Fold in the nuts, chocolate chips and raisins, if desired. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes in 2 loaf pans.

Zucchini Bread slices ready to eat!

Check with a toothpick for doneness. Remove the loaves from the pans and set on cooling rack. This recipe also freezes well.

As always, I hope to see you On the Lake!