A couple of months ago I planted some zucchini sprouts purchased from our local garden centre. Every year I seem to lose my memory about how abundant zucchini plants are under ideal conditions. This summer’s crop is doing really well. We’ve had quite a bit of moisture this season. Some farmers are complaining it’s too wet, while others say their yield is the best they’ve seen for years. You can’t please everyone.
We went away last week to do some camping for the weekend and came back to find two huge zucchinis tucked away under the leaves. I had thought I found most of the small ones, but for some reason there’s always one or two which I overlook. Needless to say, the ones I didn’t pick were about the length from my elbow to my fingers, about a foot and a half. So, I picked them and thought about what to do with all this wonderful bounty.
First I made some muffins. It’s my go-to for using up stuff. Then zucchini tots. They are like tater tots, but use zucchini instead of potato. Basically toss some grated zucchini in a large bowl with some bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper, grated cheese, and garlic. Press into little bite-size balls and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Yummy and fast.
Then came the loaves. I’ve made 10 so far and there will be more coming. Erma Bombeck talked about being that neighbour who has so much zucchini that you end up sneaking next door in the dead of night with little gift baskets filled with zucchini and ringing the doorbell. As you crouch behind the potentilla, You spy your neighbour gingerly pick up the basket expecting an abandoned child or pet and pull back the gingham. A cry of exasperation comes from their lips as they realize they’ve now been cursed with the gift of produce.
When we were visiting Newfoundland a few years ago we took a drive up the Northern peninsula to visit L’anse Aux Meadows. It’s a national historic site which shows when the Vikings visiting the northern part of the island thousands of years ago. As you’re driving up the highway you have to first be on the lookout for moose. That highway is famous for accidents involving moose and cars. Unfortunately neither the car with its passengers nor the moose fair well when they meet. Always be careful driving, especially at dusk.
One other thing you’ll notice is along the highway there are gardens. I thought it a bit peculiar to see a fenced garden just plopped along the highway. Most of the plots that we were driving past were started in the late 1960′s when the highway was constructed. Up until then gardening had been a challenge due to the lack of plentiful and fertile soil along the coast. However, when the major road was built the dirt was piled up alongside the road where it could be put to great use in growing the main Newfoundland crops of potatoes, cabbages, and turnips.
While our garden isn’t along the highway, I wanted to share some of the bounty with my zucchini loaf recipe. This recipe is fairly easy and you can add raisins or chocolate chips for variety. I’ve added some All Bran buds for a little extra fiber.
Preheat your oven to 375F. In your mixing bowl combine the eggs, oil, sugar, apple sauce, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Then add the grated zucchini. Mix to combine. In a separate bowl add the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and soda. Mix with a wire whisk to evenly distribute the ingredients. With the mixer on low add the dry ingredients to your wet. Mix until you can’t see any more flour. Then add the All Bran Buds.
Pour into a prepared 8X5 loaf pan. I spray mine with cooking spray, but you can butter and flour the pan if you prefer. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Then remove from the pan and let cool completely.