Recently, a friend of mine gave me a pretty enormous zucchini from her home garden. I’m talking 2½ to 3 pounds, and bigger than my arm. And thus began the saga of World War Z. I decided it was big enough to warrant two different recipes, one sweet, one savory. And so we begin with Part 1: Rise of the Zucchini.
“Rise” because I used the first half of that massive vegetable to make bread. Get it? Zombies rise/bread rises? *rimshot* I crack me up. Anyway, it’s not the most original use for zucchini, but when D told me he’d never had zucchini bread, that sort of sealed the deal. I suppose that’s my fault, because my quick breads are normally banana, citrus, or berry-based, and I reserve zucchini for more savory dishes. I do feel a bit guilty now, having deprived the poor man of something so yummy for all these years.
The fun thing about quick breads is that once you have a basic batter, you can stir in pretty much anything you want to jazz it up and add extra texture and flavor. I decided it would be fun to make this in the style of hummingbird cake, which is basically a banana cake that’s been tarted up like carrot cake – in other words, with nuts, raisins, and pineapple folded in.
It’s moist, crunchy, and sweet, with juicy bursts of fruit throughout. So. Good. And my man friend was pleased with his first taste of zucchini bread. While some purists might prefer their bread plain (and it’s certainly tasty that way), I like a good schmear of salted butter on top. Because, really, who ever died from too much butter? No, I don’t want you to answer that question. Just let me live in delicious, butter-laden ignorance.
If you’ve never had zucchini bread before, or you’re looking for interesting stir-in options for your usual loaf, I highly recommend this approach. Tune in next time for World War “Z,” Part 2: Julia’s Child. Let me know in the comment section if you think you can you guess the next recipe based on the title!
Zucchini Hummingbird Bread
1 lb of zucchini, unpeeled (if your zucchini has large, developed seeds, scrape these out first)
2 cups flour (10 oz)
2/3 cup (about 5 oz) sugar, plus 2 tbsp, separated
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp table salt
¼ cup Greek-style yogurt
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup chopped walnuts (you can toast these first if you like)
8 oz can crushed pineapple, well drained
¼ cup raisins (about 2 oz, but use more if you prefer)
- Use a food processor fitted with the shredder attachment to shred the zucchini. Add the 2 tbsp of sugar to the zucchini, then replace the shredder with a blade attachment and pulse to combine. Alternately you can shred the zucchini with a hand grater and toss it with the sugar. Scrape the zucchini mixture into a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, and allow the zucchini to drain for about a half hour. Press to squeeze out excess juices, then scoop the mixture onto paper towels or a clean kitchen towel, and squeeze to get out as much moisture as you can.
- While the zucchini is draining, preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter and flour a loaf pan, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Toss in the walnuts and raisins. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, eggs, yogurt, butter, lemon juice, vanilla, and drained pineapple.
- Fold the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, just until moistened, then scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, making sure to smooth the top of the batter.
- Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle comes out dry. Allow the loaf to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing.
- Serve warm, spread with softened butter if desired.