I look forward to those overcast summer days, when the sun isn’t shining or it’s supposed to rain. It’s an excuse to stay indoors, cooking and spending time with a friend. With day trips to the beach or lake, or afternoons at the pool, our summer life can get a bit busy. Cooking dates need to be scheduled more precisely and often depend upon a less-than-desirable day of weather. So, bring on the occasional clouds, humidity or rain — I’ll take any chunk of time to cook with my friends.
That was the case last Monday, when I got together with Debbie and her kids. The weather was hazy, hot and simply uncomfortable. That’s when we decided to take the kids to the farmer’s market in Maplewood to pick up ingredients for an afternoon of cooking. (Go to my article on http://www.baristanet.com/baristakids/ for details and our blueberry muffin recipe.) While I supervised the kids, who were measuring, mixing and baking their muffins, Debbie was by our side making a double batch of zucchini bread using up a surplus of her CSA squash. These breads and muffins are handy to have around as nutritious grab-and-go breakfasts before camp and gymnastics.
Debbie’s house smelled delicious with her oven filled with our farm fresh baked goods. We used the bit of down time to take a tour of her garden, checking the status of her tomatoes, eggplants and figs, while we plotted what we would create together once her fruits and veggies mature — a fig spread, eggplant dip and a big batch of tomato sauce. We’re hoping to get together at the end of this week to make some garden fresh family meals that she’ll take with her on her week away and I’ll stock up in my freezer. A day of clouds or rain will make it that much easier to plan.
Makes two loaves
¾ cup canola oil
1 ½ cups of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup apple sauce
3 ½ cups white flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 cups shredded zucchini
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two loaf (or 8 mini loaves) pans with baking spray.
In a large bowl, beat together the oil, apple sauce and sugar until well mixed. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing well. Add the shredded zucchini and mix until combined.
Bake for approximately 40 minutes until cooked through. If using mini loaf pans, cooking time will be about 20 minutes.