late summer favorite: zuchinni bread.

I always look forward to zucchini bread late in the summer. In previous summers I always had a garden full of baseball bat-sized zucchini waiting to be grilled, baked into quiches, and marinated into a savory pasta sauce. This summer, with the drought, parenting two toddlers, and various house projects underway, I scaled back on watering my garden as well as tending to it, and the one zucchini I planted disappeared into dust that first hot weekend. We did not grill, bake, or marinate much of this summertime garden staple.

But as feeding toddlers becomes harder and harder, I started searching for different ways I could get my oldest to eat his vegetables. Quite frankly, I am not above hiding them. Anything to get my macaroni and cheese loving kid to get some nutrients from vegetables and not just his daily multi-vitamin. So today, I remembered how deep my love for zucchini bread goes, high-tailed it to the grocery store, baked a loaf, and told my son it was cake. Both of my kids devoured it. Not exactly the most nutrient-rich serving of vegetables, arguably even a serving, but I will take what I can get.

And really, there is nothing like a warm slice of this bread at the end of summer, when I am pining for fall. The fall flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and raisins really gets my gears going and suddenly has me daydreaming of brightly-colored mums, crisper mornings, and homemade Halloween costumes. This bread pairs really well with an iced Chai or a hot cup of coffee. A quiet room with the door shut while toddlers wreak havoc on the other side is not necessary but recommended. You can substitute vegetable oil with melted butter or white sugar with brown, but really, this one tastes best with the same, tried and true ingredients. Enjoy!

Zucchini Bread (makes two loaves)

3 cups grated zucchini (from about 2-3 medium sized zucchini)
1 &1/3 cup sugar
2/3 vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup raisins

Move oven rack to the center and preheat oven to 350. Grease two loaf pans on the bottom only. Stir all wet ingredients together, mixing well. Add dry ingredients, minus raisins, and mix well. Fold in raisins last. Divide between two pans and set side by side in the oven on the middle rack. Bake 45-55 minutes. Remove when top of loaf springs back when pressed lightly and toothpick comes out nearly clean. Let stand 15 minutes and then slide a sharp knife around edges of the pan, and flip over on cooling rack so that loaf pops out. Cool 10 more minutes, then slice while still warm and spread with butter.