what comic books did you grow up reading?
i grew up reading lots of calvin & hobbes, Foxtrot, and Baby Blues. My beloved Old Master Q made its way through. Old Master Q was a Chinese comic book- I could only understand a handful of the dialogue but the drawings were enough to help me understand what the comic book was about.
Calvin & Hobbes was a classic, and I longed for an imagination like that of Calvin’s and a pal like Hobbes. Baby Blues gave me a small glimpse of what parenting looked like- a messy mini van and house always, but a family that always loved at the end of the day. Foxtrot was just funny because the younger brother was such a troll, not that I ever was, of course.
i spent so much time reading these books over and over again as a kid, waiting for doctor’s appointments, waiting for my parents to finish up something, a distraction when homework seemed particularly unthrilling. I imagine it’s similar to my favorite shows on netflix, where i can watch or read it over and over again and it’s still funny each time. Sadly, they are now just collecting dust back at home, but maybe I’ll add them to my collection up north.
And here we are, zucchini bread.
I clearly remember this one moment in Foxtrot where one of the characters decided to grow zucchini and ended up with way too many since they grew so quickly.
It seems strange to put a vegetable in a sweet bread, but if you’ve never had it, imagine that it’s similar to carrot cake. A heaping pile of grated zucchini is mixed together with your typical sweet cake blend and spices- sugar, flour, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. You’ll see the green bits in the bread when it’s done, but trust me, you won’t even notice. You’ll just notice a slightly spicy (in a good way) sweet bread with a faint caramel flavor from the turbinado sugar. It’s dense but not in a way that makes you feel like your throat is going to get clogged.
As for the zucchini…I have no idea what purpose it serves and am too lazy to google this right now, but I suppose it adds moisture and an extra health factor because vegetables?
baker’s notes: the recipe below calls for turbinado (raw cane sugar, like sugar in the raw) sugar. I’ve only made it this way, but according to deb at smitten kitchen, feel free to swap it with regular sugar or some light brown sugar, either a full or half-swap will be fine.
this recipe also makes a pretty large loaf, so if your loaf pan is smaller, feel free to divide it in half. i enjoy a larger loaf because it means larger slices, but you do you. freeze the loaves for later as you please.
makes one large loaf, two smaller loaves, or 24 muffins
from smitten kitchen
3 large eggs
1 cup olive, vegetable oil, melted butter, or a mix
1 1/2 cups turbinado sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated, packed zucchini, not wrung out (about 2 smallish zucchini)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (optional)
1-2 cups mix-ins of the following (optional): dried cranberries, raisins, or chocolate chips
preheat the oven to 350 f. depending on what you’re doing, grease a loaf pan (i use a 9x5-inch pan) or two and line the bottom with parchment paper, or line 24 standard muffin cups with paper liners.
in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil mixture, sugar, and vanilla. stir in the cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. mix in the zucchini. fold in the flour, and mix only until you don’t see any streaks of flour. mix in any add-ins.
pour the batter into prepared pan(s), and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. if you’re making muffins, bake for about 20-25 minutes and use the toothpick test as well. let the loaves cool or enjoy warm. store wrapped at room temp for up to four days!