January 4, 2010 by skwishface
My biggest weak point of the day is breakfast. That’s when the donuts happen. And the chocolatey coffee. With extra whipped cream. Biscuits and sausage. Breakfast tacos. With extra bacon.
Gosh, I love breakfast.
So in an effort to help both me and The Husband eat a bit healthier this year, I have begun an initiative to pack as much veggie and/or fruity goodness into our every meal as possible. This may get a bit bizarre at times.
Bear in mind, The Husband is the World’s Pickiest Vegetable Eater. He’ll only eat certain veggies, and then only in certain forms (mostly: unidentifiable). If he can identify a chunk of vegetable, whether by sight or by mouth-feel, it’ll get meticulously removed from the dish. He’ll take all the time in the world to painstakingly pull out each and every little bit of the offending roughage until all that remains is a pile of rejected bits. All you can do is watch and wonder.
Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that he’ll eat zucchini if it’s been baked into something! And so, the breakfast bread packed with veggies and fruit was born.
Apple-Zucchini Bread (prep time: 15-20 minutes, cook time: 60 minutes, servings: 2 loaves or 24 muffins)
2 cups fresh zucchini (shredded)
1-2 cups fresh apple (diced – approximately 2 mediumish apples)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 whole eggs
1 tablespoon cinnamon (to taste)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
(there be a printable version of this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen)
Whew! Yeesh, that’s alot of ingredients. Let’s not dwell on it too much. Instead let’s focus on the fact that on the day I made this recipe, the sun finally decided to shine. Normally I wouldn’t include crazy bright beams of sunlight in photos, but dammitall it’s been so gloomy lately, and it’s gloomy again today, and I wanted to preserve this happy sunshine for all eternity.
The apples – peel and core and hack into little pieces. The zucchini – lop off the stem end and grate into a pile of shreddedness. Which is a word.
Set the rabbit food aside and move on to the bread-making stuff. Sugar, oil, and eggs into the bowl! If you have a super sexy stand mixer, all the better.
Mixy mixy mixy till you have a pale yellowish paste. Then add both types of flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, kitchen sink, your left shoe.
Why two types of flour? I was going for the fiber and nutritional content of the whole wheat flour, but … I don’t know about y’all but I can feel whole wheat flour in non-yeasty breads. It’s almost rough on the tongue. Maybe I’m a culinary princess-and-the-pea, but it honestly does bug me. So I cut it with light, fluffy, nutritionally void all-purpose flour as a compromise. Smoother texture, still good for you. Of course, you’re welcome to go all whole wheat, if you’re not a weirdo bread princess like me. Or entirely all-purpose flour! Whatever makes you smile.
Anyway, mix it all together. Be somewhat alarmed at how thick and sticky and gooey and unworkable-looking the mixture is. Neglect to photograph it.
Have no fear! You’re about to stir in four or so cups of moisture-infused bits. It’ll take some elbow grease and patience – neither of which I ever enjoy expending – but ultimately the mix will go from this:
Pre-heat your oven to 350. You can make these into muffins (just fill your muffin-cups to almost full, bake for about 20 minutes) or … OR …
Or maybe you got loaf pans for Christmas!
I think it marks a certain milestone in my life that this was one of my favorite Christmas gifts this year. Not too long ago, my favorite gift was a suped-up black desktop computer, tricked out for intensive video gaming and full of hot sexy purple lights. The times, they are a-changin’.
Anyway! I greased up the ends of these loaf pans and lined the long sides and the bottom with parchment paper. Because baking with parchment paper makes life happy.
Into the oven for 60 whole minutes (again with the patience thing, SIGH). And what came out damn near brought a tear to my eye.
It was so pretty! And my house was filled with the gentle fragrance of apples and cinnamon. Oh happy day!
And then I lifted them out of the pans (easily, for parchment paper is magic), and the heavens parted. Angels sang down from on high. Holy light of goodness and rightness filled my kitchen.
I didn’t even really let it cool. I had to slice it open and see how the interior turned out.
Damn near perfect, if you ask me. Not that you did. Because this is the internet, and blogging is alot like singing in the shower – lots of noise going out, and you’re never really sure who’s listening.
But about the bread – all that unmanageable super-thick glop of bread batter actually works in your favor, suspending the chunks of apple so they don’t all just sink to the bottom during baking. And the zucchini just melts into the background, indentifiable only by the bright green bits. No discernible texture, just alot of added moisture to the bread. And nutrition!
It’s easy to forget, in all the yummy and the pretty of this bread, that it’s actually quite good for you. Sliced into individual portions, tossed into baggies for easy transport, and a week’s worth of breakfast for The Husband and I just go ever so much healthier.