Tag Archives: garden

Zucchini Banana Avocado Bread

zucchini banana avocado breadAs was the case last summer, the zucchinis in the garden are growing like weeds. We only go harvesting about once a week, but every time we go, there are new (sizeable) zukes to be plucked from the dirt.

To use up the zucchini, yellow squash and the surplus of cucumbers, we’ve been making fresh salads with a basil, garlic, lemon and oil dressing. Those salads are pretty ridiculous, in terms of delicious flavor, but let’s face it; my primary interest in zucchini is to use them for baked goods. They are so moist and lacking in their own flavor that they’re the perfect add-on item to just about any recipe. At the very least, they won’t hurt the taste or texture of the final product.

huge zucchiniOne of our zucchinis was particularly huge, about the size of my forearm. The recipe I ended up using (with modifications, natch) called for 1 cup of shredded zucchini and I used only about one quarter of the vegetable.

I went with a zucchini banana bread recipe from Taste of Home, as zucchini + banana sounds like the perfect combination for moist bread. I used only about one quarter of the sugar it called for, and added some honey for supplemental sweetness, but I could have cut out even more; the bananas seemed to have added enough sugar on their own. Also, I subbed a ½ cup of whole wheat flour for ½ cup of all purpose. It didn’t affect the bread negatively at all.

zucchini banana avocado breadAnd of course, I didn’t use any of the oil the recipe called for, and instead used avocado for the fat. As I was mixing up the initial ingredients, I felt like I was making some sort of salad.

The bread came out perfectly, with a crunchier, browned crust and moist interior. After a couple days, it was still delicious and moist, but unfortunately, the Chicago summer humidity got to it and the crust failed to maintain its crispness. Does anyone have any tips for how to store to save baked goods from moisture?

Check out the recipe below and let me know how it turns out or an modifications that made it better!

Zucchini Banana Avocado Bread
Makes three 5-¾” x 3” x 2” or one 9” x 5” loaf 

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
½ cup mashed ripe avocado
½ cup honey
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded zucchini
½ cup walnuts (optional)

In a large bowl, combine mashed bananas, mashed avocado, zucchini, honey, egg and vanilla. In small bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add dry ingredients into the wet mixture and stir. Fold in walnuts.

Transfer into three 5-¾” x 3” x 2” well-oiled loaf pans. Bake at 325° F for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. If you don’t have three small pans, use one 9” x 5” pan and bake at 325° F for about 55-65 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.


Summer Report: Weather & Gardening

american flagThis summer has been a rollercoaster of emotion, weather-wise. In June, we had highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s. Yes, I realize that most of June precedes the actual summer solstice, but I don’t care. On my birthday (June 2, for all of you keeping track at home), I expect sunshine and warmth. At the very least, I shouldn’t have to wear layers and a scarf to walk to a farmer’s market, which is exactly what I did on my birthday.

Then, when the weather finally warmed up, my delight quickly turned into whining as rain and wind and thunderstorms took over. I know, it’s hard to believe that I would ever whine about the weather not being 85 and sunny, but I have a witness who will testify. And I’ll tell you what’s always a challenge: playing beach volleyball in 30 mph winds.

It’s July now and this Chicago summer is finally looking like a Chicago summer: 90s and humid, yay! Would I prefer the weather be dry? Of course! But the sensation of sweltering that the humidity creates is quite welcome by me. It’s even hot enough that I can enjoy an iced or blended beverage without shivering; cold drinks are actually necessary.

But I digress. The only information I needed to relay is this: the June storms seem to have been good for the garden I’m helping tend in Northwest Indiana (and probably great for commercial farmers all over the region), so I guess I should stop complaining. Just last night, the Head Farmer (my boyfriend’s mother) sent us a photo of the first harvest. Three large zucchinis!

Knowing that something is growing in that ground is so gratifying. Gardening is not easy, turns out. At points when I was planting seeds or weeding, I really questioned why we’re doing this. Weeding, in particular, is not fun. It is so physically taxing that, while I’m doing it, I get why inorganic food exists. The possibility of getting rid of the weeds, in one feel swoop, is soooo tempting that yeah, I understand why pesticides exist. No, I’m not saying I want toxic chemicals in the products I ingest; I simply want to express how much my knees and back hurt after just an hour of weeding in a 25’ x 20’ plot and my endless amazement that my great-grandfather did it until he was 89. Anyway, I can feel myself rapidly losing my hippie cred (did I ever have any?), so I’ll move on.

This summer is the second year we’ve done the garden, expanding this year to include more blueberry and strawberry bushes. Last summer, my personal contribution to the land was embarrassingly scant, so this year I’m trying to redeem myself by putting in more effort. I’m under the assumption that the harder I work, the sweeter the zucchinis, tomatoes, berries, rhubarb, asparagus, pumpkin, onions and peppers will taste. At the very least, I’m am increasingly fascinated that seed + dirt + water + sun = food. It’s magical!

Check out the progress of the garden over the past six weeks:

June 7, 2013: hoeing the land in anticipation of planting seeds and blueberry bushes
home garden

June 14, 2013: weeding to be done after many days of rain
home garden

July 6, 2013: plants!
home garden

July 17, 2013: edible food!