Here we are, back in the Pacific Northwest where the nights are blissfully cool and the days sweet and bright (for now at least). After more than a month in the food desert that is the little corner of upstate New York where we have been spending our summer vacations since forever, I was eager to bite into vegetables which didn’t look as if they had sprouted, plastic-clad, on a supermarket shelf, in other words, I couldn’t wait to go back to our little CSA.
I knew it was too early for tomatoes in our neck of the woods, so I wasn’t expecting any (I wasn’t disappointed!). I also knew zucchini season was on and I was ready with some recipes but I wasn’t prepared for our basket to be almost completely taken over by the green and yellow stuff!
What you see on the picture above is just a sample of the crop. We had way more than that and I knew I had to go beyond sautéed garlic zucchini, zucchini risotto or courgettes farcies (stuffed zucchini). I needed to make something we could freeze and enjoy later, maybe when summer would be but a memory.
It so happened I had just put away a little bag of candied ginger I had bought in Vermont on my way back from Gérard Rubaud’s bakery (I have noticed that ginger helps me stay alert when I have to drive long-distance, maybe because it is so spicy) and I had been wondering what to use it for now that I was back home.
So when I saw a recipe for a bread using zucchini, carrots and candied ginger in Janet Fletcher’s beautifully photographed book, Eating Local, The Cookbook Inspired by American Farmers, I knew I had found what I was looking for.
I adapted the recipe a bit: I replaced all of the all-purpose flour by white whole wheat flour and all of the canola oil (which I didn’t have) by extra-light olive oil; I more than halved the sugar (using 150 g instead of a whooping 390 g!) and I didn’t use any cinnamon (which I don’t much care for). It came out so tasty that even my eleven-month old granddaughter (already a miniature foodie) loved it (despite the heat of the ginger). Try it if you are swimming in zucchini. You won’t regret it…
Ingredients: (for two quick breads)
- 400 g freshly-milled white whole wheat flour (I had white wheat berries I needed to use but store-bought flour would work just fine)
- 3 g ground ginger
- 5 g baking soda (1.5 tsp)
- 1 (scant) g baking powder (1/4 tsp)
- 4 g sea salt
- 90 g chopped candied ginger
- 3 large eggs
- 200 g extra-light olive oil
- 150 g sugar
- 10 g vanilla extract
- 110 g carrots, scrubbed and grated
- 150 g zucchini, grated (unpeeled)
- Preheat the oven to 325°F/163°C and lightly oil two quick-bread pans (Fletcher says to use 8.5 x 4.5 pans but I only have the two I bought at Ikea and they are 10 x 4.5)
- Mix together flour, ginger, baking soda and baking powder, sifting if you like (I didn’t sift but I whisked). Add salt and candied ginger and whisk
- In large bowl, whisk eggs until foamy. Whisk in oil, sugar and vanilla. Add carrots and zucchini and whisk again
- Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stir with wooden spoon until roughly blended
- Divide the batter between the two pans
- Bake about one hour (do the toothpick test to judge doneness)
- Cool on a rack (but wait 10 minutes before taking the breads out of the pans)
There are many more glorious recipes in Fletcher’s book and even though it was recommended to me for the photography (which is by Sara Remington and truly stunning), I know I will refer to it over and over throughout the summer, the fall and into early winter just to figure out what to cook from the CSA or the market. It is organized by veggie or fruit and there are also a poultry, meat and eggs section at the end. It features ten different farms from across the country.
It is a lovely book to own if you have a garden or have access to a farm or farmer’s market. I got mine used online and it is stamped “No longer the property of the St. Louis Public Library” in bold red letters. It still bears its Dewey identification number: 641.5 EATING. Since it was only published in 2010, your local library might also still own it.