Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stress Buster Bread, at least that was the plan

So, awaiting news of the car in the shop, and driving very nervously in a rental, amazing what even a small collision will do to your nerves, especially in a high traffic environment such as my region, and feeling very shaky, literally, over family news and events, very sad, very difficult to process, I decided that Yet More Baking might be a good thing right now.

Keen and astute readers will no doubt have observed that I still have not baked bread. Still on all the alternatives to baking my regular bread, which I love, but I'm Not in the Mood.  That's one of the luxuries of living alone, that if you aren't in the mood to bake bread you don't even have to explain it,you just do what you are in the mood for.

Which turned out to be zucchini bread from the Silver Palate cookbook.

The lengthy list of ingredients, these women really went to town, daunted me only slightly. But I had no ground cloves, subbed ground ginger, realized that the farmshare this week had no zucchini, but three cucumbers.  So I figured, well, only I know about this, who's to complain if the zucchini bread is in fact cucumber bread, maybe a cookbook writer would call it Mock Zucchini Bread. 

Anyway, I thought I'd just grate the outsides of the cucumbers, leaving all the seed part, and it took all three of them to make enough shreds.  The seed part I sliced and put into apple cider vinegar as a salad component, waste not want not.

Then I figured I'd better let it sit in a sieve, to drain a bit, cucumbers being more watery than the zs.

So far so good.  And the book said to whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Which I did,luckily noticing in time I'd misread the spoon size for the baking powder, and since the bp was still lying in a little mound on top of the other ingredients, was able to rescue most of the excess, anyway, I whisked and whisked and it was all nice and evenly distributed.  I use a whisk instead of sifting, suits me better.

Then the next instruction was to mix the SUGAR with the oil, vanilla and eggs.  Well, heck,why didn't she say so before?  and since when does sugar not count as dry?  so, grumbling savagely about glackity cooks, I beat and beat, just the eggs and oil and vanilla, then folded in the walnuts -- fortunately I had walnuts, so I wasn't tempted to chuck a cup of thumbtacks in, you will assess my frame of mind at this moment -- and got all the dry ingredients folded gently in.  And here, despite the earlier instruction to put this all in a single big loaf pan, she suddenly chirps that the mixture goes into the pans, plural. Well,I grimly decided if it was too big, too bad, and poured it into my Big Loaf Pan.  Into which it fitted, in fact.

And baked it for the requisite long time, fortunately remembering it was there and not getting all involved up in the studio on other pressing matters.  And after all that it turned out really well.  I had the usual battle to get it out of the pan after it cooled a bit, but exercised the cook's prerogative of eating the bits that wouldn't part from the bottom of the pan.  And they were pretty good, if I say so myself.

But I found that my new approach, of setting out all the quantities of everything ahead of time, instead of my normal one of seizing the container for each thing as needed and measuring out from it, had the effect of using up every measuring cup and every bowl in my kitchen. So, though I did this to allow for my high stress level and difficulty in keeping things organized as a result, I think I'll go back to my old method which ends up in fewer dishes littered all over the sink and counters.  Gosh, there were more than I use for Thanksgiving.

So baking bread is now postponed again, while I enjoy this lovely nutritious NonZucchini Bread.


  1. Too wonderful, Liz!
    I'm thinking you could make cuke 'sandwiches' just by rubbing a bit of butter on thin slices? What is up with the sugar not being included in the dry ingredients? Odd duck, that writer. I whisk my dry stuff, too, by the way. I don't know if I even own a sifter these days! Ah, you make me want to grate something and bake... I have three semi-giant zukes at home... xoxo

  2. that looks yummy, I make Z cake, which sounds the same, similar receipt to carrot cake too

  3. That looks very nice Liz and tomatoes and onions added to the vinegar mix will be nice too.

  4. Just about fell off my chair laughing when I came to the part about thumbtacks. Yes, it all came together in cartoon format. A little trick for setting out your "mise en place" before you begin concocting - I measure and pour into saucers and very small bowls, keep a piece of paper towel at the ready should I forget and pour wet before dry. Give it a few go rounds and you'll come to like this method, makes for less back and forth, much less stress. That is, providing you have walnuts on hand...J in Cowtown

  5. I understand perfectly what you mean about an accident rattling one's nerves. I was in a serious car accident when I was about 5 years old. Gas tank ruptured, caught fire around the car, I was trapped under the fold down front seat in the rear of the car. Didn't get back into another car until I was 8 years old. Finally learned to drive the summer I turned 40! Finally! Now I drive all over hell's half acre! J in Cowtown

  6. Well, I think my mise en place, which consists of putting out all the ingredients on the counter in their packages, and all the measuring items, is likely to be my default method, having done it that way for over 53 years! I only just realized how many dishes it saves, though.

  7. Ah, the wondrously prolific zucchini. We make many things - DH made muffins day before yesterday, a portion of which ended up being transported to other apartments in the vicinity just so we could get rid of them. Next up is most likely zucchini lasagna, and bread, and more muffins, and....

  8. oh, Liz, by the time I got to the thumbtacks I was hysterical. I kept thinking, I never want to be in this person's way when she's baking, nossir.
    and there is nothing nastier than recipes that surprise you with things you already did, or need to do differently, or you don't have. NOW she tells me.

    And isnt it grand when the substitutes perform as well as you hoped...


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