Speaking of extra zucchini…
As many of you know, August is the month of abundance as far as the local food and farming scene is concerned. As I discussed on Monday, aside from scrambling to cook, freeze and can as much of it as possible, there are great local programs, like the one started by Harvest against Hunger, that will gladly take some of the extra produce off your hands. Sharing the wealth of locally grown, whole foods with those who have little or no access to it, will only increase the benefits and meaning this season brings to all of us. Check out Monday’s article for more information on the Harvest Against Hunger donation program.
What doesn’t get donated, shared or cooked up for dinner will still need a home, which is where this great ‘everything but the kitchen sink and garden mulch’ recipe will come in handy. As you tire of veggie salads, veggie soups, grilled veggies and the like, getting creative with veggie baked goods always seems like a good idea – use up the summer squash, zucchini and carrots while making a healthy loaf of breakfast bread simultaneously.
Using fresh fruits and veggies in baked good has its own advantages as well. Not only does this add nutrients fiber to the final product, it enhances the flavor, texture and moisture as well.
This recipe can be played with to your own digression but is a good guideline of how to throw together a great tasting, healthy and easy summer harvest delicacy.
This recipe is adapted from an original I found in the Macrina Bakery cookbook
- 2 cups roasted butternut squash, pureed until smooth
- 1/2 cup grated fresh zucchini
- 1/2 cup grated fresh carrot
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- ½ cup grated coconut (dried)
- ½ cup dried currants or cherries
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place all the nuts and seeds on a large baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the oven and let cool. Set ½ cup of the nut & seed mixture aside for decorating the top of the loaf.
- In a large mixing bowl sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Add the nuts & seed mixture and the coconut.
- In a separate bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugars and mix until well incorporated. Add the squash puree and applesauce and mix until combined and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
- Alternate adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the bowl until all is incorporated – don’t over-mix! Gently fold in the dried currants or cherries by hand.
- Generously grease 2, 8.5x4.5 inch loaf pans. Equally distribute the batter between the pans and sprinkle the reserved nut & seed mixture over the top of both.
- Place the pans in the oven and bake for about 1 hour or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean and dry. Remove the loaves from the oven and let cook for at least 30 minutes before tipping out of the pans (otherwise you will risk having part of your loaf cling to the pan).
- Enjoy warm with a tab of good butter or, after the loaf has cooled, wrap tightly in plastic and keep for up to 1 week.
- ***This loaf also freezes very well so don’t be afraid to make a big batch while you have the ingredients on hand – you will be thankful for it some mid-winter morning!