Summer Cooking: Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

Yes, it is that time of year that I’ve heard (jokingly) is the only time Mennonites lock their cars at church. It’s full-fledged zucchini season. Seemingly overnight, the tiny doll’s-arm-sized vegetables swell into gargantuan human-arm-sized ones, and they replace themselves faster than an army of ants finding a sugar bowl in spring.

This spring my four year-old daughter and I planted two hills of zucchini together. I put two seeds in my hill and she put two in hers. Of those four seeds only one (thank goodness!) made it to maturity, and my daughter delights in her zucchini plant that produces when Mama’s barely came up. We also have some generous friends who have donated many zucchini to us from their garden as well. I told my husband I might have to stop visiting them for a little while.

After many iterations of zucchini at the dinner table, I turned to my cookbooks in search of a good zucchini bread recipe. Thank you More-with-Less for coming through!

The regular recipe is delicious with cinnamon and walnuts.

Then I tried substituting one cup of flour with one cup of cocoa powder, and adding chocolate chips instead of nuts. Also a winner.

Next, I turned my attention to making something I’ve wanted to master for some time. A lemon poppy seed loaf. Why wouldn’t it work? The zucchini would keep it moist, and it seemed like I could change the cinnamon out for any flavoring I wanted. It worked!!! I was so thrilled, and the rest of the family liked it too. Since I made so many changes to the recipe, I’ll post it here as a new one.

Lemon Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread 
(adapted from More-with-Less)

Yield: two loaves

Ingredients
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups raw, peeled, grated zucchini
1/2 TBSP vanilla
1/2 TBSP lemon flavoring
2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour*
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
2 TBSP poppy seeds**
grated lemon zest from one lemon


Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F and grease two loaf pans (8 or 9 inch). Combine the eggs, sugar, oil, zucchini, vanilla, and lemon flavoring in a large bowl and stir together well. Sift the flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg together and stir into the wet mixture. Stir in lemon zest and poppy seeds. Divide batter into prepared pans and bake for about one hour (check at 45 min. and adjust accordingly--batter in 9-in pans will not take quite as long). Remove loaves from pans and cool on a rack. May be glazed (I stirred together 1 TBSP melted butter, 2 TBSP lemon juice, and one cup of powdered sugar and brushed it on while the loaves were still warm).

*If you don't want to use whole wheat flour, just use all white and reduce zucchini back to 2 cups.
**I think the recipe could take up to 1/4 cup poppy seeds if you really like them.

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What are your favorite ways with zucchini? Have you found ways to preserve it for the winter months? We’re trying zucchini pickles this year!

with love, Anita

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