By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook
The secret to a great zucchini bread, apparently, is getting the water out of the zucchini.
You don't want a wet, leaden bread. And as the kids in my food appreciation classes learned, squash--like most vegetables--is mostly water. Salt or sugar added to grated zucchini penetrates the cell walls on a molecular level, drawing out copious amounts of liquid. Left standing in a colander over a bowl for an hour (or overnight) will produce a cup of water or more from a pound of squash. You can then squeeze out even more with your hands, or by twisting the zucchini in batches in a tea towel.
(One of the kids wanted to taste the water after we'd given the sugar treatment. We did. Not bad! Green and sweet.)
So start your zucchini bread with a pound of squash. Trim off the ends, cut into manageable pieces and grate using the large holes of a box grater. Placed the grated zucchini in a colander set over a bowl and toss in 2 tablespoons sugar. Allow to sit at least an hour--or overnight--then squeeze as much of the remaining liquid out of the zucchini as you can. Set aside.
Meanwhile, whisk together 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. These are your dry ingredients for the bread.
In a separate bowl, beat two eggs. Add 1/4 cup plain yogurt, the juice from 1/2 lemon (strain out the seeds), 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar and 6 tablespoons melted butter. Combine well. These are your wet ingredients. Stir in the grated zucchini.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour mix and gently combine with a rubber spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Pour the mix into a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan that has been greased and dusted with flour. (We sprayed with Baker's Joy).
Place the loaf pan in a 375-degree oven and bake for 55 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Invert the pan to remove the loaf and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Our kids loved the zucchini bread just as it was. In truth, even though the bread is flaked with zucchini, making it quite pretty, you can't really taste the vegetable. In an ideal world, you would serve the bread warm, slathered with cream cheese and washed down with a tall glass of cold buttermilk.