Tag Archives: Bread

Double Your Fight Against the Dreaded Green Squash’s Invasion: Zucchini Bread – Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Loaves

When I think of zucchini, I think of other foods, which have super-powers.  For instance, the classic “B” movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes comes to mind.  Then there was the “Eggplant That Ate Chicago.”  Or else I think of the Blancmange which ate Wimbledon, on Monty Python’s Flying Circus.  As with the tomatoes, eggplant, or blancmange, zucchini will take over, if you give it half a chance.  Do not turn your back or  close your eyes for a millisecond.  Be afraid…very  afraid of this green garden menace.

I do not grow my own zucchini, as I know that I will benefit from others, whose gardens are overflowing with the squash.  On my island within a matter of days, I received one zucchini as a party favour, if you will, at the end of a dinner party (how can one say “no, thank you”?) and then a phone call from a neighbour who was trying to unload her excess.  I accepted the second offer, too, as there were a couple of cucumbers thrown in to make it irresistible.

Now I know to wait until August for the largesse of zucchini.  This year, however, was the first when I finally decided to finally try zucchini bread.

In addition to using two of the three aforementioned squash I received, I wanted to finish up some light sour cream in the fridge.  America’s Test Kitchen’s New Best Recipe (ATK) had an attractive option for zucchini bread.  The ATK version makes one loaf, though it uses yogurt instead of sour cream.  Despite their warning that sour cream made their loaves too heavy and rich, I went ahead with it anyway.  ATK – like the zucchini-zombies – could not scare me away.

I always appreciate ATK’s rigourous experimentation with ingredients, technique, cooking times, pans, etc.  Their recipe stated that the subtlety of the zucchini can be lost, when many other spices are used, e.g., cinnamon or nutmeg, so they limit flavour-boosters to lemon juice to brighten the taste.  This approach works well, so I give them credit for their thoroughness, as always.

The only drawback, perhaps, is that it is rather time-consuming to shred/grate the zucchini, before draining in a strainer and drying it in paper towels after 30 minutes.  Even using a food processor, this is a bit of a long recipe – another reason to double the quantities and bake two loaves.  I strongly advise doing two at once, as the bread freezes well or lasts three days, tightly wrapped, at room temperature.

The bread has a fine crumb.  This is attributable to the yogurt, or sour cream, and the lemon juice.  I found the zucchini flavour to come through in a distinctive and pleasant manner, but it was definitely not over-powering.  The toasted walnuts add a crunchy textural counterpoint to the rich body of the bread, which really is more like cake.

For the doubled-up recipe…

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Fast Low-Fat French Toast with Fresh Strawberries: Necessity is the Mother of Invention with Stale Challah

Want a quick brunch dish when you have a bunch of leftovers?

I found myself with the ends of a nice sesame challah, an egg white (left from the yolk I needed for the chewy brown sugar cookies), local strawberries which needed to be used up, and some milk which had just gone sour – I know, you probably will utter “eeew yuck!” or something to that effect.  However, I find sour milk to be a great baking medium, especially when I do not have buttermilk on hand.  Its taste is not distinguishable at all in the French toast.

Challah is a wonderful base for French toast.   I love the actual French expression for French toast:  “pain perdu”, or “lost bread”.   (No, there is no “pain français,” just like there is no “Canadian bacon” in Canada – it is “pea-meal” or “back” bacon, here in the Great White North, eh?)   “Pain perdu” always makes me think of a lonely baguette wandering the streets of Paris, not knowing its way – but maybe that says more about me and how I often felt when I lived there.  This dish is known as,  in French, “pain doré” – or golden bread, ” which is quite evocative; perhaps that expression is more of a Québecois thing.  Anyone out there know more about this?

For the recipe… Continue reading

A Toothsome, Wholesome, and Whole-Grain Loaf: Peter Reinhart’s Multigrain Bread

Multi-grain bread with rasberry-tayberry jam and peanut butter

I was a strange child. When I was 12, I decided to become a vegetarian. I read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation. I did not like the idea of eating animals, nor did I particularly enjoy meat, other than the occasional hamburger. So it was not much of a culinary sacrifice for me for the next ten years of vegetarianism.

Just sliced multi-grain bread

As I mentioned in earlier posts, we ate out often as a family. Back in the early 1970s, this presented challenges, with my self-imposed dietary restrictions. If my grandmother were along, she immediately – and loudly – would ask the wait person, “Young man {or “young lady”}, my grandson won’t eat meat. What do you have for him on your menu?” She made this declaration, as if I were unable to read the menu or ask myself about what I could eat. Often the response was “the house salad”.

The “house salad” was indeed a vegetarian option. However, it was never the sort of colourful, nutritious, and satisfying salad one can find at many restaurants today. The salad consisted of a wedge of the definitely not trendy iceberg lettuce, with a few slices of anemic-looking “cello” tomatoes. (The “cello” referred to the cellophane, which encased a trio of perfectly shaped medium-sized tomatoes sitting in a open-weave plastic basket, similar to the baskets for cherry tomatoes or berries today; this terminology always confused me in supermarkets, as my brother took cello lessons back then, but this “cello” was pronounced differently and had nothing to do with music.)

On such house salads, there might have been a slice or two of soggy cucumber or even a few rounds of carrot. If it were a better restaurant, sometimes a handful of very salty croutons decorated the dish. Often the salad had a thick layer of gloppy Green Goddess dressing, poured liberally from an industrial-sized jug of commercial dressing, no doubt.

Learning to bake bread and Peter Reinhart’s whole-grain bread recipe Continue reading