And as far as the vegetable garden, it's all about the tomatoes (yum and yay!) and zucchini. This year I tried out 'Trombeta di Albenga' a climbing heirloom Italian variety from Renee's Garden. To say that it is a vigorous grower would be an understatement--I think the vine is somewhere between 12 and 15 metres long now. And the zucchini! Well, take a look...
If you grow the more conventional zucchinis (the smaller green or yellow ones) you might think I've left this on the vine far too long, but I consulted with a friend whose family has grown these, and she assures me that they are indeed supposed to be allowed to get this big. In fact, I received a little talking to when I picked one too young.
The first mature one that I grated (in order to bake with it) measured in at over 7 cups! Time to get baking!
So I went in search of a good zucchini bread recipe.
I tested several (on my coworkers and my husband ,and even on my husband's coworkers) and found that they were either too oily, or too cakey, or just not the right bread-like consistency I was going for.
I wanted something with a texture like banana bread, not coffee cake. So I took the closest recipe to that out of my collection and started playing...
...and I came up with something that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind (I love it when that happens! Too bad it doesn't occur more often.) If you're looking for something similar, I'll share it with you:
Zucchini Orange Oat Bread
Makes 2 loaves
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups orange juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
3 ¼ cups all purpose flour
½ cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
1 cup chopped nuts (preferably toasted)
Heat oven to 350’. Place a piece of parchment paper crossways in the bottom of each of two non-stick 8 x 4” loaf pans.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs until thick and lemon coloured; gradually beat in sugar. Add in oil, orange juice, vanilla extract, and zucchini. In separate bowl place all dry ingredients, combine with a whisk, and then stir by hand into wet mixture until everything is well mixed.
Pour batter into pans. Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Use a flat spatula to release loaf from ends of pan; lift loaf out by lifting on edges of parchment paper. Store in a sealed container. Freezes well.
And if you have as much zucchini as I do...repeat all of the above!