Saturday, January 22, 2011

Home Cooking: The Great Zucchini

Ah, the joys of spring. The homegrown vegetable gardens. The sweet taste of corn, tomatoes, and green beans. And the overabundance of zucchini.

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but it seems that the giving of zucchini has become an underground joke in my neck of the woods. (Almost as much of a Utah staple as the dreaded green Jello and carrots.) It seems that everyone who plants a garden always has more zucchini than they could ever possibly consume on their own or within their family, so the offerings begin.

“Would you like some zucchini?”

And that is the question. LIKE? Does anyone actually like zucchini?

Yuck! Now, I’ve been known to sit at the table and eat a peeled cucumber, but zucchini? You’ve got to be kidding.

That’s what I always thought until my sister, Sue, managed to pass off a zucchini to me once without my even knowing. No, it wasn’t raw. I can definitely tell the difference between a cucumber, which I live, and the texture and taste of the dreadful zucchini.

But my sister was a sneak!

The loaf of home baked dessert bread looked too good to pass up. How was I to know it was Zucchini bread? And the best zucchini break I have EVER tasted in my life.

Don’t think about your grandmother’s zucchini bread, and defiantly ignore the zucchini bread delivered by your neighbor, desperate to somehow use all that zucchini she grew in her garden. (Wouldn’t you think that someone would figure out it’s not necessary to grow multiple zucchini plants to meet their family needs?)

This is by far the absolute best zucchini bread you will every taste, and the most incredible part? You’ll forget it’s even made with zucchini.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. grated, peeled zucchini, drained
1 3oz. package of instant French vanilla pudding (or your choice of flavor)
1 c. walnuts Black or English (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and pour into 2 (9x5) loaf pans, lightly sprayed with PAM. Bake at 350∘ for 50-60 minutes or until a knife blade inserted into the center comes out clean.

Slice and serve warm or wrap and allow to cool for later.

My sister experiments with different pudding flavors, including coconut cream, strawberry, lemon, vanilla, and chocolate, but my favorite is the French Vanilla.

Whatever you decide, once you’ve tasted THIS zucchini bread, none other will ever suffice, and you probably won’t fear the unmarked bags of neighborhood zucchini left on your doorstep overnight.

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