A few things I’ve learned about vegetable gardening in Utah: Zucchini and squash can easily overtake a small garden so they are best when planted in their own area (one small plant ends up being gigantic), cilantro doesn’t survive well in Utah (or at least I have killed a few cilantro plants here), strawberry plants come back every year and multiply, flat leaf parsley grows well in Utah, rhubarb takes a few seasons to grow enough to harvest, tomato plants grow huge so you must buy cages (and the smaller part of the cage goes in the ground … I learned this by doing it the wrong way), beer keeps slugs away from your garden (but might draw puppies into the garden), spicy peppers grow well here, and lastly, anyone can grow mint, it is like a weed and flourishes every year (although I have killed it before by not watering enough).
This year, my zucchini plant provided several loaves of zucchini bread and countless side dishes. Recently, I put zucchini in chicken tiki masala; I’ve also added it to spaghetti, sauteed it with marcona almonds and rosemary, and just sliced it up raw for a fresh salad.
After trying several different zucchini bread recipes over the years, I’ve found one that I love! My recipe calls for hazelnuts and hazelnut oil but you can substitute walnuts and walnut oil or applesauce for the oil. I really think the nut oil was the deal breaker for this recipe. The hazelnut oil enhances the bread flavor and the hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds on top give it a nice crunchy texture.
What’s your favorite zucchini recipe?
- 3 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons light vegetable oil or canola oil
- 2.5 cups grated zucchini
- 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1cup of hazelnuts, toasted and skins removed
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil*
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray loaf pans (2 large or 4 small).
- Beat eggs until light. Add the sugar, mixing well. Add the oil, zucchini, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.
- Sift the dry ingredients. Add by the cupful to the egg mixture. Stir until well blended. Add the half of the hazelnuts and all of the hazelnut oil.
- Spoon batter into the pans, sprinkling the rest of the nuts and pumpkin seeds on top, and bake for approximately 1 hour. Cool on racks.
*Also, if you don't have hazelnut oil on hand you can use walnut oil or extra vegetable oil. *For a healthier version, you can substitute some of the oil with applesauce.. *Zucchini bread freezes very well.