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Archive for July 20, 2013

RECIPE: Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread started to appear in the 1960s, as hippies looked for healthier foods. But the concept dates back to the Middle Ages, when European chefs began to develop sweet vegetable puddings. Carrot pudding was first; sweet potato pudding and pie followed in the Renaissance. The different types of squash offered still more options. Carrot pudding, a side dish, evolved into the carrot cake dessert in the 20th century.

Zucchini became popular in American home gardens during and after World War II. If you’ve grown zucchini, you know that you can’t find enough ways to use it up. But zucchini lasagna and zucchini bread are two of the happy outcomes.

Zucchini bread was catapulted to prominence by James Beard, who published a recipe for it in 1973. Homemakers found it easy to make, healthier than cake, easily portable for snacks and travel, and freezer friendly. The water content of zucchini also added natural moisture to the cake.


The difference between a recipe called “cake” and one called “bread” is that a bread is:


Zucchini bread with a light glaze. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.

  • Less sweet
  • Slightly drier (less butter or other fat)
  • Baked in a loaf pan
  • Not frosted, although a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar or a drizzle of glaze cana be used

    Carl Goh was a food writer and friend of James Beard. This recipe appeared in Beard On Bread*. It has less sugar than some contemporary recipes, and for an even healthier bread, you can substitute 1 cup of whole-wheat flour for one of the cups of white flour.

    Ingredients For 2 Loaves

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated†, peeled, raw zucchini
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped filberts or walnuts
  • Optional: 1/2 cup raisins or other dried fruit or drained crushed pineapple; reduce nuts to 1/2 cup

    Plain zucchini bread. Photo courtesy Betty


    1. BEAT the eggs until light and foamy. Add the sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla and mix lightly but well.

    2. COMBINE the flour, salt, soda, baking powder and cinnamon and add to the egg-zucchini mixture. Stir until well blended; add nuts.

    3. POUR into two 9 X 5 X 3-inch loaf pans. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 1 hour. Cool on a rack.

    *Beard on Bread, James Beard, Alfred A. Knopf:New York 1973, p. 169.

    †You can leave on the nutritious skin; it will create green flecks in the bread.




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    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Ice Pops

    Is this the seventh day of the heat wave? We’ve lost count. But we’re glad to have this recipe created by Debi Mazar & Gabriele Corcos, hosts of the Cooking Channel show, Extra Virgin.

    They whipped up a coffee-themed ice pop using Lavazza, Italy’s beloved coffee brand. They used the Lavazza Qualità Rossa variety, made with African beans that have a natural chocolate aroma—perfect for a mocha popsicle. If you like strong coffee, you can use espresso.

    Then, instead of after-dinner coffee, you can enjoy your coffee and your dessert in on a stick.

    Debi and Gabriele also follow our own favorite practice of freezing leftover coffee in ice cube trays. “In summer we never toss whatever coffee is left in our pot,” says Debi. “Rather, we keep filling ice cube trays with it to make ‘espresso iced cubes!’ Add two or three cubes to a half glass of cold milk on a hot summer morning to get going.”


    Cool down with a homemade mocha ice pop. Photo courtesy Lavazza.



    Preparation time 15 minutes, refrigerator/freezer time 6 hours.

    Ingredients For 10 Popsicles

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup Lavazza Qualitá Rossa, ground coffee
  • 3½ cups water
  • 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • Ice pop molds for 10 servings

    Lavazza Qualità Rossa. Photo courtesy



    1. MIX together sugar, coffee and water in a saucepan mix; bring to a boil. Let simmer for 4 minutes, stirring continuously. Filter using cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel.

    2. MIX the chocolate and hot coffee syrup in a bowl; stir until completely melted. Let cool; then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before proceeding to next step.

    3. MIX together heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, whip lightly to soft peaks. Add the cream to the cold coffee syrup and mix gently so the cream does not loose volume. Pour the mixture into the ice pop molds and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.


    Use your favorite juices and other beverages (coffee, tea, kefir, smoothies) or fresh fruit purées to make the ice pops of your dreams. For gourmet touch, add fresh herbs like basil or rosemary. Like heat? Add chipotle, jalapeño or hot sauce. Check out these recipes:

  • Bloody Mary Ice Pops
  • Frozen Yogurt Pops
  • Pineapple Chipotle Ice Pops
  • Soda Ice Pops
  • Tea Ice Pops

    Popsicle© is the trademarked brand of the Unilever Company, which also owns Good Humor and other brands. Legally, everything else must be called something generic, such as ice pop. (Here’s the history of the Popsicle and Creamsicle.)

    While the Unilever legal team can’t spend all day chasing down every recipe called “Popsicle,” no one else can sell a product called Popsicle. They’ll have to invent their own name, as Popsicle inventor Frank Epperson did, way back in 1923.


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