This is what I've been waiting for; waiting for and looking forward to, all throughout the long, cold, miserable winter we endured in Minnesota, and the endless, cool spring that seemed like it never would end. I imagined platters filled with heirloom tomatoes from my garden, Salade Nicoise made with green beans I grew, pasta with pesto from my basil patch, roasted beets... and zucchini fritters, stuffed zucchini, and zucchini bread. Waiting for the bounty of produce from my garden and making a mental list of everything I will prepare with that produce are my daydreams.
So with these zucchini plants going gang-busters the past month, I thought I would soon be lamenting the lack of hours in the day to deal with the onslaught of squash from my three massive plants. But every morning when I made my early rounds of the garden, I discovered trouble under those big green leaves. The small zucchini I closely watched were either rotting on the ground from the heavy rains in July, or they disappeared completely. (I no longer think baby bunnies are cute).
That means the Zucchini, Raisin, and Walnut Tea Loaves in these photos, plus the stuffed zucchini we had for dinner the other night, were all made with zucchini purchased at the grocery store. Not exactly the way I had planned it. But this quick bread from the Once Upon a Tart cookbook was so good, I'll go out and buy more zucchini to bake more loaves... if I have to.
Zucchini, Raisin, and Walnut Tea Loaves
: : from the Once Upon a Tart Cookbook : :
• Unsalted butter for greasing the loaf pans
• Cornmeal for dusting the loaf pans
• 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 4 large eggs
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 cup canola oil
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 medium zucchini (3/4 pound), coarsely grated
• 1 cup dark raisins
• 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F.
1. Rub two 5 x 9-inch loaf pans evenly with butter and dust them lightly with the cornmeal.
2. Whisk the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium-size bowl.
3. In a separate large bowl, whisk the eggs until yolks are broken up, and whisking with one hand, add the sugar with the other, and whisk until the eggs begin to pale in color. Whisk in the oil and vanilla. Stir in the zucchini, raisins, and walnuts.
4. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until there is no trace of flour remaining.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans with a rubber spatula, dividing batter evenly between the two.
6. Place the loaf pans on a rack centered in the middle of the oven, and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaves comes out clean.
7. Remove the loaves from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. When cool, unmold the loaves carefully. I found I needed to turn them over and tap each end of the loaf pan gently on my table. Best served at room temperature.
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