We’re headed for my inlaws, no major travel involved, and no major cooking required on my part. Which is good, since I could probably avoid burning the turkey but thats about the limits of my holiday cooking. I have NO INTEREST in running around the kitchen for the previous 24hrs in an attempt to cook up a storm for a single meal (to be fair neither does my mother-in-law, and she somehow manages to produce an awesome Thanksgiving dinner with out doing so, the fact that the kids all help by bringing food helps).
My sole contribution to Thanksgiving dinner is homemade zucchini bread. For those if you who’ve never had it and are now looking at your computer screen like it just sprouted tentacles I promise its GOOD, and it doesn’t taste at ALL like zucchini, and other than some bits and pieces of green in the final product you’d never know it was there either. My dad used to make it when I was a kid. When I moved out, and asked him for his recipe, I was informed he didn’t have one, and just kinda “tossed things in the bowl till it mixed up right”. Sigh, the downsides to having a father who was taught to cook by an old fashioned housewife (the upside was fresh homemade bread and other sundries weekly ALWAYS). Every recipe I found didn’t quite work right, something was off.
Finally I ran across the following recipe on Food Network’s site, and it only required minor modification to make it damn near perfect. I’ve never put the lemon juice in (I somehow never have any on hand when I’m making it, therefor its never had it, and frankly I’m not missing it), and I’ve never put in the chopped nuts (cause I HATE nuts in my baked goods, I’ve been known to pick them out of all sorts of things), and I cut the sugar in half (cause god the original recipe is sweet). So here’s my current zucchini bread recipe:
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 cups grated zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, baking soda, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine oil, eggs, water, and zucchini. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Bake in 2 standard loaf pans, sprayed with nonstick spray, for 1 hour, or until a tester comes out clean. Alternately, bake in 5 mini loaf pans for about 45 minutes.
Now I’ll usually run the zucchini through the smallest cutters on the mandolin cutter rather than grate it, doing so is easier on my hands, and the larger chunks don’t seem to make any difference in the overall product (though folks who don’t know what they’re eating occasionally freak out over the green stuff in their bread). 2 cups is about two small zucchini, or one large, depending on how tightly you pack it. I also often pour it into muffin tins instead of bread pans, especially if I’m making it for anything other than a holiday, as its easier to just eat a muffin or two and then stop where when its a loaf we generally finish off it off in less than 24hrs.