Friday, July 16, 2010

Zucchini Bread's Secret Ingredient: Olive Oil

Sure, it would be great to have a vegetable garden. It would also be great to have central air (not happening in this pre-war apartment), a personal assistant (how long have I been meaning to book a haircut?!) and a beautiful baby and fabulous husband (oh, wait). Anyway, the veg garden. But I have the next best thing: a mother-in-law whose garden is roughly the size of our bedroom and living room put together.

My in-laws came to visit last weekend, bringing with them the first of the garden's bounty: zucchini! And I know it is so painfully obvious to make zucchini bread, but that's just what I did. I'm still avoiding dairy and soy, and after a conversation yesterday with Terry Walters, a cookbook author who makes it a point to cook with "clean food," which includes baking without using canola oil, I tracked down a recipe for Zucchini Bread that uses olive oil instead of canola oil or butter.

I know I've made fabulous zucchini breads before (I have twice made, but never blogged about, this one; if you like Indian flavors, you must try it), but the one I made this morning might outdo them all. It is really simple--just zucchini, flour (I used a mix of whole wheat and white), sugar, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, walnuts and raisins. But that olive oil! It makes the bread moist but still light and airy--a little savory, and even kind of floral.

Still waiting on that personal assistant, but until then, I guess I can make my own zucchini bread.

Zucchini Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Wet ingredients:

1 c olive oil
2 eggs
2 c sugar [I used 1 1/2 c]
1 t molasses
3 t vanilla
1 t salt
1/8 t nutmeg
3 t cinnamon
2 c grated zucchini

Dry ingredients:

3 c flour
1 t baking soda
3/4 t baking powder
1 c Nuts, Raisins, Currants, Craisins, Chocolate Chips or a combo [I used walnuts and raisins]

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Shred zucchini with a box grater or with the grating blade of your food processor.
3. Grease two loaf pans by brushing on some vegetable oil; coat with flour.
4. Crack eggs into a mixing bowl, and then whisk thoroughly to integrate yolks. Add the olive oil, sugar, molasses, vanilla, and spices, and mix well. Stir in zucchini.
5. In another large bowl, sift [I didn't sift; I just stirred] together flour, baking soda and powder.
6. Pour the wet ingredients into the blended dry ingredients. Fold until just mixed. Add the nuts/dried fruit/etc.
7. Pour batter into loaf pans and bake 45 to an hour; the loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.

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