Monday, August 19, 2013

When life gives you zucchini ...

Delicious zucchini bread doesn't need gluten!
I became an expert at baking zucchini bread not long after I was married. At the time, Doug and I had set up house in a little two-room metal building—the well-house, actually—on my dad’s farm near Seymour, MO. Living on a farm, I thought I needed to put in a garden, naturally. I bought a used tiller, prepared the soil, planted the seeds, watered, weeded and waited.

Too much rain that spring, followed by too much drought in the summer—and too many other activities, followed by too little enthusiasm for all the hard work that successful gardening demands—brought little yield to my “toil.”

Except for the zucchini, that is. Unfortunately, we had a bumper crop of zucchini ten times larger in size than the pale and paltry watermelons planted right next to them. Apparently zucchini thrives on adverse conditions and a lot of neglect.

Theo's well-loved recipe.
When I complained to my friend Theo Clark about all that zucchini, she gave me a recipe for zucchini bread. Though at first I was skeptical about grating up zucchini to put into a loaf of bread, I used that recipe to make her delicious zucchini bread for the next 35 years. (Friends—or neighbors or even complete strangers—nearly always supply the zucchini from their own bumper crops.)

Now that celiac disease no longer allows me to use Theo’s recipe, I’ve had to come up with a new plan for the use of zucchini (which I purchased this week for a song at the farmers market). I found this recipe on the Internet—and I made some really tasty bread this afternoon.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread

1 C. sugar
2 eggs
2/3 C. vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 tsp. GF vanilla
1 ¼ C. GF all purpose flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp. GF baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 C. shredded zucchini (no need to peel)
½ C. chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease bottom only of 9-by-5 inch loaf pan.
  • Use electric mixer on medium speed to beat sugar and eggs until well blended. Add oil and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • In a different bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into egg mixture on low speed until blended. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Pour mixture into pan.
  • Bake 1 hour to 1 hour, 10 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 min. Remove from pan to cooling rack and cool completely.

This recipe worked perfectly on the first try. The bread tasted great, and it held together well.

Although I never became much of a farmer, Doug and loved living in the well-house. Besides the fact that we lived there rent-free, we enjoyed the beauty of our pastoral surroundings, the sound of the rain on the metal roof, the smell of freshly cut hay, the feel of the cool water in the creek that ran through the farm—and the sweet taste of our home-grown zucchini bread.