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What can you say about Zucchini Bread? It’s fine, but it’s not special. I find it really hard to get excited about something so mundane. I know that might sound hypocritical coming from someone who can wax poetic over the glories of a grilled cheese sandwich. But, what can I say? I love cheese and, well, zucchini is just zucchini.
Don’t get me wrong. I like zucchini. It regularly appears in my stir fry. And, it has proved a good understudy for Japanese eggplant in my “Thai Red Curry with Chicken.” Most frequently I add grated zucchini and carrot to my marinara to bump up the nutrition quotient. But it really is just a delivery system for other flavours. It has no flavour of its own and the texture is a bit dubious as well. That said, I do have a really great recipe for a “Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake.” It’s rich, moist and delicious. But, alas, the recipe is lost in a mountain of yet-to-be transcribed recipes… in a box, in the den and not likely to see the light of day until later this summer… perhaps. I enjoy a good zucchini loaf from time to time, but really it’s the nuts and spices that I like.
So, what to do about Zucchini Bread day? First, I was determined not to make the traditional sweet loaf. Like I said, that’s all about the nuts, not so much the zucchini. I searched my favourite website for inspiration and lo and behold… I found my perfect muse. Epicurious.com has a recipe for tea sandwiches that sounded perfect – Radish Sandwiches on Zucchini and Basil Muffins. The recipe is from the July 1990 issue of Gourmet and is meant for a summer buffet kind of presentation. I decided to make regular sized muffins and skip the radishes but the primary goal was achieved. No sweet, nut-filled loaf for me… instead I got a savoury bite of basil infused goodness. I had my fresh-from-the-oven muffin with a slab of feta cheese and a few slices of cucumber. It was the perfect accompaniment to my afternoon tea.
Okay, so these muffins are really all about the basil instead of the zucchini. But, that little green squash pulled its weight. The muffins are moist and light, just what you would expect from a bread that uses more vegetable and less fat to create the texture. Really, it’s the zucchini that makes that chocolate cake so good too.
The real test for me is to ask “would I make them again?” And, yes, I believe I will. They are a nice addition to the brunch table and they held well over night, so they would be good in a picnic basket too. I guess there was something to get excited about after all.