Zucchini (courgette) are fairly easy to grow, even in Irish weather. Just a couple of plants will yield plenty of zucchini in one season. I have to check on them daily as they grow, because they can get quite large rather quickly. It is better to not let them get “out of control huge” as then they lose their tastiness.
There are so many different ways to use zucchini. We often just slice them up, lightly coat in olive oil, add some Cajun spices, and throw them on the outside grill. It’s too easy! I think our favorite thing to do with zucchini though, as rated by family and friends, is making zucchini bread. Only after moving to Ireland did I start to think that the name is a bit off: it should be called cake! It’s perfect to have with your cuppa of choice, whether coffee or tea. It isn’t a common dessert here, so I like giving it to friends and family as a way of sharing something different.
A friend from Syracuse, New York, Charlotte, shared her recipe with me last year. I hadn’t seen crumb topping in a zucchini bread recipe before. What a hit! I do realize this is not a health food. 🙂 But I did make a couple of changes to the recipe to make it more healthful in my eyes: I added some whole wheat flour, increased the amount of zucchini, decreased the amount of sugar, and changed the sugar from white to Demerara (unrefined cane sugar), and I added nutmeg. Yeah, I know, it still has oil in it, but ya gotta live a little!
There wasn’t any sun shining when I took my pictures (have I mentioned the weather we’ve been having this summer???). I have my plate and cup as close to the window as possible, which isn’t a very nice set up (sorry). The pottery is my newest addition from County Wexford. It is called Vinegar Hill, and I absolutely love it. We met the artist and it was so nice to get the story of the historical meaning of the pattern. But that is for another post!
I hope you get to enjoy a lovely cuppa with some zucchini bread sometime soon!
of Charlotte Santella’s recipe:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour & 1 cup white flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil (can substitute ½ cup apple sauce & ½ cup oil)
- 2 cups Demerara sugar (unrefined cane sugar)
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups grated zucchini (usually takes 2 large zucchini to get this)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Crumb Topping: 1/2 cup regular oats, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup cold butter (2 oz) cut into small cubes. Combine dry crumb topping ingredients, add cold butter and mix (I use my hands) until combined. Add this to pan 5 minutes into baking.
- Grease & flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
- Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon & nutmeg together in a bowl.
- Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in dry ingredients to the wet mixture, along with zucchini (and nuts if using) until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans. 5 minutes into baking sprinkle crumb topping over top of loaf pans.
- Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool. (mine are rarely finished before 60 minutes – I think because I heap those measuring cups with zucchini!).