What is the garden kitchen? Normally one makes a meal plan and then goes to the grocery and buys what they need. I have decided to do something different once a week: go into the garden and randomly pick a star ingredient and then go back into the kitchen and make something off the cuff. It can be from a cook book (mine or someone else’s) or it can improvised and created on the spot. The garden kitchen is designed around what is seasonal, fresh and of course super local. Let’s have some fun!
I have got zucchini coming out of my ears, seriously. I have never understood why, in Italy (where I live part of the year), people plant so much zucchini. The plants yield gourds the way rabbits multiply. It can be quite humorous, actually, because I’ve noticed Italians pawning off their squash to friends knowing very well that they have their own abundantly producing plants in their gardens. Pick summer squashes while they are still small to medium sized, because in a matter of days they quadruple in size.
I have had to get creative with all the squash my garden is producing. First up is the Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread from my book Easy Green Organic. I changed things around a bit: Although sweet potato can be found throughout the year, it is typically a fall or winter root vegetable. So I substituted carrots (also from my garden) for the sweet potatoes. I also decreased the sugar from 1 cup to ¾ cup and lastly, for a little texture, I added ½ cup of unsweetened coconut flakes. And because I have such a vast abundance of zucchini and lots of guests in the house, I doubled the recipe. The result is a quick bread filled with lots of texture and nutrition. Ask me how long the bread lasted in the house. (Less than 24 hours.)
Zucchini Sweet Potato Bread with Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Cherries
Makes 1 9x5 inch loaf
- 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1/4 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup raw zucchini, grated (about 1-1/2 small zucchini)
- 1 cup raw garnet yam, peeled and grated (about 1/2 of 1 large garnet yam)
- 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup unbleached flour
- 3 Tbs brown sugar
- 1 Tbs pumpkin seeds
- 2 Tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl sift together 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a large bowl beat together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the zucchini and sweet potatoes. Add the flour mixture, pumpkin seeds, and dried cherries; stir well.
4. Transfer the batter to prepared loaf pan.
5. Make the crumble topping: Mix together 1/4 cup flour, sugar, and 1 Tbs pumpkin seeds. Mix in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
6. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter.
7. Bake the zucchini bread for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle of the bread comes out clean.
8. Let the zucchini bread cool before removing it from the pan.
Anna Getty, is the eco-editor of Pregnancy Magazine and a mother of two, green-living educator, Kundalini yoga teacher, and author. She has penned two lifestyle books with Chronicle Books, I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas and Anna Getty's Easy Green Organic. Anna recently moved with her family to Tuscany, Italy, to pursue a simple and organic country life. Please visit her website at AnnaGetty.com.