When the weekly farm share or backyard garden is “runneth over” with zucchini and summer squash, this is a handy recipe from the All Purpose and well-used Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker (New York, NY: Scribner, 1997).
I love the encouragement given in this go-to cookbook: “Remember that muffins invite substitutions and inventive flavoring, and that any coffeecake, quick loaf, or corn bread batter can be made into muffins as well” (p. 782).
I’ve modified the Joy of Cooking recipe somewhat to use ingredients at hand from this home cook’s seasonal CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share from Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook (Columbia County) in upstate New York. The cookbook recipe called for chopped scallions, fresh parsley and dill. Although my farm share has included scallions and parsley, at hand was a small red onion and basil. In fact, the basil was picked fresh from a basil plant which was part of this season’s farm share in one of the first deliveries and which I quickly potted and have been using all summer season.
I also used 100% grass-fed and organic Maple Hill kefir milk in place of the suggested buttermilk in the cookbook’s recipe. We’ve often highlighted the superiority of grass-fed meat and dairy products. Consumer Reports recently detailed the reasons that consumers should choose grass-fed dairy products when possible. So in choosing a cheddar cheese to use in this recipe, it was an easy decision to use 100% grass-fed and organic Maple Hill Stone Creek cheddar.
Then I have a personal preference to use locally sourced Farmer Ground whole wheat all-purpose flour instead of the cookbook’s suggested all-purpose flour. And of late, I’ve been using some teff flour in my baking and substituted 1/4 cup of teff flour instead of using entirely an all-purpose whole wheat flour. Teff, the world’s tiniest grain (the size of a poppy seed) was first cultivated between 4,000-1,000 B.C.E. in Ethiopia, and can withstand both droughts and waterlogged soil conditions. It has been called a super-grain, high in minerals and protein.
Not a sweet bread but a savory one, this Zucchini Cheddar Bread is delicious with a slice of tomato or alongside a breakfast omelette. With no sweetener of any sort added, it is yet a delicious and satisfying treat. And a slice with a spread of delicious Crofter’s organic Wild Blueberry fruit jam (available at my local food co-op, the Honest Weight in Albany, NY) satisfies the sweet tooth too.
The Joy of Cooking recipe notes that it “is lovely toasted the next day.” Confirmed!
And next time I cook up this recipe, it will likely be to make savory muffins (easier to share with friends and neighbors), not a savory bread.
Savory Zucchini Cheddar Bread
Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9 X 5 inch (8-cup) loaf pan
3 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour (1/4 cup of teff flour, if available, substituted for some of the all-purpose flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coarsely shredded (medium sized) zucchini
3/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onion (substitute for scallions)
4 tablespoons chopped basil (substitute for 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh dill)
2 large eggs
1 cup kefir milk (substitute for buttermilk)
4 tablespoons warm melted unsalted butter
(1) Whisk together thoroughly in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, salt & baking soda
(2) Add and toss with the dry ingredients: shredded zucchini, shredded cheddar cheese, chopped red onion & basil
(3) In another bowl, whisk together: eggs, kefir milk, and warm melted butter.
Add to the flour mixture and mix with a few light strokes just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Do not overmix; the batter should not be smooth.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean, 55 to 60 minutes.
(Frank W. Barrie, 8/7/19)