Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bake (Don't Buy) Zucchini Bread For Your Doctor

mom's zucchini bread

Jeff meets a lot of interesting people in his dermatology practice, like Mr. Petroni (not his real name). They hit it off instantly -- they're both native New Englanders with Italian names and a fondness for meatball sangwiches. (It also helped that Jeff fixed his rash.)

After one of Mr. Petroni's visits, Jeff discovered a small package wrapped in crinkly green cellophane on his desk. A handwritten note was attached; its shaky inscription read: To a great doctor. Thank you for making my husband feel better. I hope you and your wife enjoy the zucchini bread. Sincerely, Mrs. Petroni.

Jeff was touched that this elderly Italian woman, whom he had never met, would bake him a loaf of bread. As he toasted a slice for breakfast the following morning, he offered me one. I declined; I wasn't that hungry. Jeff ate the bread, murmuring contentedly, licking his index finger periodically to pick up the crumbs that fell on to the plate. "Sue, you gotta try this," he persisted.

Reluctantly, I took a small bite. It was incredibly moist. Each slice was speckled with green zucchini shreds and studded with toasty walnuts. This bread wasn’t good. It was amazing. Our hands bumped into each other as we reached for seconds.

"See, that's the problem with living in Southern California," I said, "there aren't enough little old Italian ladies making homemade bread like back home."

When Jeff left for work, he had a mission: Get the recipe from Mrs. Petroni. Upon entering the house that night, I bombarded him: “Well, did you get the recipe? Was there coconut in it?"

“Yes, I spoke with Mrs. Petroni,” he said, “but I didn't get the recipe.”

“But, why?” I whined. Mrs. Petroni was flattered that we loved the bread, "But," she said, "I don't know the recipe. I bought it from Katella’s Bakery and just wrapped it up for you."

shredded zucchini for zucchini bread

Note: The following recipe is neither from Mrs. Petroni nor from Katella's. It's my mom's. Bake it for your cardiologist or dermatologist this week. They'll appreciate it more than you know.

Mom's Zucchini Bread
Makes 2 (9 X 5) loaves

My mom's zucchini bread is chock full of zucchini, coconut, pecans, and pineapple. It's like an old-fashioned zucchini bread married a pineapple upside-down cake. Don't be surprised if you find your family fighting over the last slice.

Print recipe only here.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts, preferably walnuts or pecans
2 cups shredded zucchini, with the skins
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1. Place oven rack in center of oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat 2 (9 X 5) loaf pans with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.

3. In a medium bowl beat eggs and sugar with an electric mixer. Add oil and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and stir by hand. Fold in nuts, zucchini, pineapple, and coconut.

4. Divide batter evenly between two pans. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and place on a wire rack.

You might also enjoy these quick breads:

Healthy Cherry, Banana, and Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

Lemony Blueberry Corn Bread with Basil

Mango Bread

Here are more zucchini bread recipes:
Two Kinds of Zucchini Bread at Simply Recipes
Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread at Baking Bites
Low Sugar and Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread at Kalyn's Kitchen
Special Zucchini Bread at 101 Cookbooks