Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lemony Yogurt Zucchini Bread

True story- when I was growing up, I was a very picky eater.  Very.  My Mom and my Nana used to try to trick me into eating all sorts of things.  I don't think I'll ever forgive them for serving me "potato cakes" that really were cakes made with bacala (salted and preserved cod- a Mediterranean staple).  They didn't fool me on that one, I know fish when I taste it.  The veal cutlets that I thought were chicken did get by me, however.  And so did the "spice bread" that I thought was great.  Little did I know it was just heavily spiced zucchini bread.  Zucchini?!  How could they do that to me?  One of the worst vegetables ever in my childhood opinion.  But I've got to give Mom and Nana credit, they got me to eat it and like it.

My older son eats almost anything I put in front of him, thank goodness, so there's no need for deception.  But like me, he's not a zucchini lover.  Which presents a challenge when the farmers that contribute to my CSA box seem to have quite a bounty of the dreaded vegetable.  What do I do with it all?  I came up with a great grilled vegetable panzanella (bread salad) that I'm sure will end up on the blog sometime this summer.  But there's only so many times I can make that before my family gets tired of it.  So this week I decided to try zucchini bread.  All the recipes I found were a lot like the "spice bread" of my childhood.  Which is fine, but they felt a little too much like fall for me- lots of cinnamon and cloves.  I wanted a summer version of zucchini bread and one of the things that says summer to me is lemon.  I know, I know, lemons are actually a winter crop.  But their sunny flavor reflects so perfectly the sunny weather, I just love them with summer foods.

So I took a pretty basic recipe and played with a bit.  I wanted a moist, sweet bread with a pronounced lemon flavor.  I found that yogurt added to the batter gave it a nice moist crumb.  Then I added the zest of two lemons and their juice as well.  The end result is a flavorful, moist, and citrusy bread that'll use up that zucchini from your garden and that you'll want to make all summer long.  And it's darn pretty too!

Lemony Yogurt-Zucchini Bread

This recipe makes 2 9 x 13 inch loaves.  Make them both and freeze one for later.

4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plain greek yogurt
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini (about 2 medium or 4 small zucchini)
1/3 cup lemon juice
zest of 2 medium lemons

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Butter two 9 x 13 inch loaf pans.  Sprinkle sugar to coat the inside of the pans.  Usually you would use flour in this step, but I like the sort of crunchy exterior the sugar gives the loaves.

Grate the zucchini.  Then put the zucchini between two clean kitchen towels and squeeze out the water.  Don't skip this step.  You don't want soggy zucchini bread.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the eggs, oil, yogurt, lemon juice and zest and mix until just incorporated.  Stir in the zucchini.  Divide the batter between the two loaf pans and sprinkle the tops with a bit of granulated sugar (maybe 2 tbs- I didn't measure).  This gives the tops a nice crunch.  Bake for approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.  You'll know they are done when a toothpick or the tip of a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool on a rack at least 30 minutes before taking them out of the pans.

BTW, mine don't look particularly green on the inside because I used a combination of yellow squash and zucchini.  It's what I had on hand and it tastes great.  If you you use all zucchini, you'll have those pretty green flecks you're more used to in a zucchini bread.

No comments:

Post a Comment