Saturday, July 23, 2011

Zucchini Blueberry Bread

Cheap Eat Challenge, Part 2: Watch as our family of 6 eats on $10/day.

Have you ever seen a recipe in a magazine (like a parenting, fitness or other non-food magazine) with a picture that looks so good you simply cannot stop thinking about making it? Have you ever then made it and had it come out so awful that you were quite sure that said magazine was overrun by aliens who slapped together an ingredient list with some instructions and then stole a picture off-line? It seems to happen a lot more than it should. I often wonder if they (the humans, not the aliens) test the recipes at all? Or if they really just sort of compose something in their heads that they think will work out well and then use a plastic replica of what they think the recipe will look like for the photo. At any rate, it bugs me to waste time and food on something that was doomed from the start. It bugs me a lot. You couldn't tell, could you?

This is what happened with this recipe. I found it in an issue of "Parents" magazine (motto: we publish the same 7 articles in every issue and our recipes are created by aliens studying human food patterns). It had a beautiful picture of  the most plump and perfect loaf of zucchini blueberry bread you've ever seen, along with the promise that the bright color of the blueberries would distract your youngsters from the green flecks of the zucchini. Well, I should have known there were aliens involved right away, because as any self-respecting human parent knows, nothing short of the apocalypse (and even maybe that) is going to distract your youngster from something green in his sweet bread. Certainly not (in our family anyway) another member of the fruit and vegetable family.

But I wanted this bread for me. And one thing the mag did manage to get right is that zucchini and blueberries come along at about the same season. The recipe was also low-sugar and whole wheat and I can't resist a good breakfast bread.

Against my better judgment I included all the 3 eggs (most recipes call for only 1), the normal portion of oil (I believe it was 1/2 C), and meager cup (or was it 3/4 C?) of whole wheat flour. Lo and behold, I got an extremely runny batter. To this I added (and here I must confess some fault) finely grated zucchini (my attempt at hiding it was to get it nearly pureed rather than largely grated) and blueberries that had been frozen and then thawed releasing some water/juice, which I dumped in with the berries. For my efforts I got a lump of eggy, oily, wet bread that did not even make an attempt at rising. It was...edible, but not really by much. I ended up salvaging my ruined bread by frying it up as you would a scone (the egginess seemed to be begging for something French-toast-ish) and serving it with syrup--not quite the healthy recipe I had in mind.

But the concept, and that picture of somebody's beautiful bread kept coming back to me. Today I got to re-creating it. It's not the heaven that you get in the zucchini coconut bread (but you can't compare 1 C of sugar with 6 Tbsp--it's just not fair), but it's still a very good and very healthy bread. Do not be ashamed to eat it for breakfast. Or to feed it to your young. Although, if you want your children to overlook the zucchini, you're going to have to peel it.

Zucchini Blueberry Bread
makes 1 loaf
prep time: 10 minutes with food processor, 15 without
Cook time: 50 minutes
Cost: $1.04
(egg: .10, oil: .05, sugar: .06, zucchini: .30, whole wheat flour: .20, blueberries: .30 on sale at Aldi, other stuff: .03)

1 egg
1/4 C oil
6 Tbsp white sugar
1 C grated zucchini (if you've frozen it and thawed it, drain the water off before using)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash salt
1/2 C blueberries (fresh, frozen, or dried, but not frozen and then de-thawed--I used fresh)

Mix egg, oil, sugar. Add zucchini and vanilla.

Combine dry ingredients.

Add dry to wet. Stir until just combined with a few whisps of flour remaining. Add blueberries and stir 2 or 3 times to combine.

Pour batter into a greased 7-inch loaf pan. (You might want to use parchment or wax paper underneath and draped over the sides, as mine took a bit of coaxing to get out of the pan.)

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.


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