"Because life is good, home cooking is best, and there is always something to be grateful for." - Christy Jordan

Monday, April 18, 2011

Zucchini Bread and another trip to the Farmer's Market

Well, I talked my parents into taking another trip to the Farmer's Market. It wasn't that hard :)

I think we bought even more this time than we did last time! And I plan to use ALL of it! Seriously, on the way home I had recipes flashing through my brain. I've already gone through a couple cookbooks and flagged some recipes I can use all my new fresh produce in!

Oranges, sweet onions, strawberries, mangoes, and homemade salsa
Zucchini and squash, anjou pears, green beans, okra, lemons and new potatoes

 Spinach, blueberries, corn, cantaloupe, watermelon and the zucchini, squash and new potatoes again

I was giddy laying it all out on the counter to put away. It's safe to say Mom, Daddy and I will get our fruit and veggie servings this week!
Here's our big bowl of fruit...filled with lemons, oranges, pears and mangoes. Yum! Oh, and just a few pictures of the fam :)
Here's what I'll be making this week:
Paula Deen's Green Beans & New Potatoes (Made these last night and they were awesome!)
Southern Plate's Sweet & Sour Green Beans (Made these last time we got green beans...SO good and so easy.)
Blueberry Pancakes (Stay tuned for the recipe!)
Fresh Spinach Salad
and I'll probably just eat the watermelon, cantaloupe, and oranges just how they are :)
I almost forgot to mention that I got a mint plant!! It's planted in a pot in my backyard and I'm looking forward to using it all spring and summer. I'm going to make a mint simple syrup for my tea and I'll be sippin' on mojitos all summer. Meet me at the pool!
I HIGHLY recommend you make a trip to the Farmer's Market. It is such a fun experience and you will come home with some yummy goodies. If you go and find something that looks good, just get it! You can go home and just google what you got and a million recipes will come up. The internet is incredibly resourceful.
On to the Zucchini Bread! I used my fresh zucchini from the farmer's market and I used my girl Christy Jordan's Zucchini Bread recipe from her amazing cookbook. (Her cookbook was the first one I looked in when I got home with all my fresh produce!)
This bread is DE-LICIOUS. If you've never had zucchini bread before then you're probably turning your nose up. Vegetables? In a bread? Well have you ever had carrot cake? That has carrots in it, yet it's sweet and delicious. That's exactly how this is. It's sweet and spicy from the cinnamon and nutmeg, so moist, and so yummy. You'll love it. I promise. You'll never look at zucchini bread the same way again.
P.S. I am strugglin' with the pictures. I don't know what is wrong with me but I failed to take as many pictures as I usually do. This recipe is a no-brainer though. You can't mess it up!

Zucchini Bread
Recipe adapted from Southern Plate 
3 eggs
3/4 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. shredded zucchini
one 8 oz. can of crushed pineapple, drained
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, optional
1 c. chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but pecans would be good too!)
1 c. raisins, optional (I left these out.)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour two loaf pans. You can use two 4"x8" loaf pans or two 3"x9". Christy says you can also use four to six mini loaf pans. Whatever strikes your fancy!
Y'all remember how to do this, right? Get our your tub of butter or margarine and swipe a paper towel in it. Grease both pans with it, then sprinkle some flour in both pans. Shake it around until it coats everything and shake out the excess.

Go ahead and grate your zucchini. You can use a box grater, the grating attachment thing on a food processor, or a hand grater. My mom actually just got this vegetable hand grater at TJ Maxx this past weekend. Good timing!

 I used two zucchinis to get 2 cups!

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, zucchini, and pineapple (drained). Mix that all together (I used a hand mixer, but you could probably just used a whisk or spoon.) and set it aside. You want everything to be totally incorporated.

All incorporated!

In a even bigger bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg (if using).

 Just sift it into that big bowl.

Now dump the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until everything is well incorporated. Add the nuts and raisins, if using, and stir those bad boys in. Now your batter is ready!

Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans and smooth the top.  Bake for 1 hour, but start checking it at 50 minutes. If you stick a knife in and it comes out clean then go ahead and take it out. Everyone's ovens are different! If you used the mini loaf pans, they only bake for about 30 minutes.

Now take the bread out and try your very hardest to let it cool before you cut a slice for yourself. It's harder than you think!
I already cut a piece out :)

 I love that you can see the bits of zucchini, pineapple and the nuts! How can you resist?!

Enjoy, y'all! If you make it, let me know what you think!

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