Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ronda from The Family our Guest SkyMom Food Writer!

Hi Sky Moms,

Are you ready to cook? Today at The Family Table we are going to talk zucchini. One of the most versatile of veggies, zucchini is inexpensive, easy to grow in the garden, tasty and full of health benefits.

In the garden, zucchini is a prolific producer. One or two plants will provide enough for your family with plenty left to share.  Starting a garden is as easy as buying a starter and sticking in the ground. Water zucchini regularly and patiently wait for those first blossoms. Zucchini will grow quickly and it is so fun for the kids to go outside and pick dinner!

Zucchini is great sliced into raw salads, in casseroles, roasted in the oven, grilled or you can even stuff the blossoms.  But of course, one of my most favorite ways to use zucchini is in bread! I have been using this zucchini bread recipe for years and years. 

This bread makes the perfect….afternoon snack, tea time treat, breakfast accompaniment,  potluck addition and gift. One little recipe can be made into muffins, mini-muffins, loaves, mini-loaves and bundt rings. It can be left plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar or glazed! Using one recipe, that you can make reliably, is certainly worthy of a place on the regular menu rotation!

My neighbor Linda blessed us with a huge gift of zucchini this past week.  I immediately made a double batch of the bread recipe and prepared it three ways. I made muffins, a large loaf, and a big bundt pan sprinkled with powdered sugar. The loaf was placed on a pretty platter and given right back to the neighbor as a gift. Which reminds me…always use your nice dishes! It elevates the appeal of whatever you are cooking or giving. It is perfectly fine to say, “I’ll be by next week to pick up the dish.” Now how about that recipe?

Ronda’s Zucchini Bread

1 cup white flour (you can use all white instead of adding the wheat)

1 cup white wheat flour (King Arthur brand Flours)

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ T ground cinnamon

2 cups sugar (for a less sweet bread, you can bring it down to 1 ½ cups)

½ cup canola oil

¾ cup buttermilk

4 eggs (I use omega 3 eggs)

2 cups shredded zucchini with all the water pressed out.

In a small bowl add flours, cinnamon, baking soda.  In a bigger bowl add wet ingredients plus 
sugar. Blend dry with wet until combined. Pour into greased pan of choice and bake at 350 
degrees for approximately 15 minutes to an hour depending on pan size. For a loaf or bundt pan I need close to the hour. For the muffins more like 15 minutes. Just watch closely and check with a toothpick.

Now what will you do with all of that bundt or loaf? In our house, I try to wrap half of it up into individual portions that I put in the freezer. I wrap it good so we don’t get freezer burn. In the morning, we can grab a muffin or slice and by the 3 o’clock slump, it will be thawed and ready for us to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. 

My other tip is what I call cluster cooking. If I am making muffins, bread, cookies or pancakes, I line up a few ziploc bags and measure out dry ingredients several times. Using a black sharpie, I can write name of recipe, what to add and cooking temp. These bags can be popped into the pantry and next time you want zucchini bread, you only need to add the wet ingredients and turn on the oven. Save that ziploc to reuse again when you do the next cluster baking session.

When you are faced with too much zucchini, feel free to grate and measure out the 2 cups needed for the recipe and freeze in individual ziplocs bags. Using the black sharpie, you can write “zucchini bread-2 cups”.  Thaw the night before and add to the bread recipe when needed.

Menu Suggestion:

Ladies Lunch or Bible Study

Make mini or regular sized muffins and serve with a scoop of homemade chicken salad, sliced melon and berries. Drizzle fruit with a poppy seed dressing and you have a lunch to rival the Nieman Marcus chicken salad plate. For those that work or go to school, assemble in separate containers and bring a thermos of iced tea. Yum!


Ronda from - The Family Table 

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