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The Earthbound Cook
by Myra Goodman
Two garden staples team up to create a delicious and unique breakfast bread that's a perennial Farm Stand favorite. Zucchini and sweet potatoes both have a high water content, which in tandem with their natural sweetness contributes to a moist bread that is great for breakfast, brunch, or just about anytime. It could even be an easy way to sneak some vegetables into a picky eater's diet. To grate the zucchini and sweet potato, use the medium shredding disk of a food processor or the coarse side of a box grater.
Makes one 9 x 5-inch loaf
• Butter, for greasing the loaf pan
• 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
• 3/4 cup canola oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 cup lightly packed (about 8 ounces) grated zucchini
• 1 cup lightly packed (8 ounces) grated peeled orange-fleshed sweet potato or yam (see below)
• 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
• 2 cups (6¾ ounces) whole wheat pastry flour
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Generously butter a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, and set it aside.
2. Place the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Add the zucchini, sweet potato, and walnuts, and stir to blend.
3. In another large bowl, combine the pastry flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend. Add the zucchini mixture and stir to combine. Do not overmix, or the bread will be tough. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
4. Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes.
5. Let the bread cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then remove the bread from the pan and return it to the rack to finish cooling. Serve it warm or at room temperature. (The bread stays fresh tightly wrapped for up to 5 days. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight before serving.)
Sweet Potatoes or "Yams"? The nomenclature and marketing of sweet potatoes and yams can be confusing. In this country, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are marketed as "yams" to distinguish them from the dry-textured yellow or white sweet potatoes harvested in the northern states. They are not true yams, however, which are grown in Africa and Asia and rarely appear in domestic markets. Look for colorful varieties of "yams" such as Beauregard, Garnet, or Jewel, as these have excellent flavor and a moist, sweet flesh loaded with fiber, potassium, and beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant.
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