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The zucchini or courgette is a summer squash which can reach nearly a meter in length, but which is usually harvested at half that size or less. Along with certain other squashes, it belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. Thank you, Wikipedia.

I was recently introduced to a very large specimen – of Zucchini that is – homegrown by Chef Vince. Apparently this was not his biggest, but he brought it to Liaison College Barrie to share with his class. I extended a bit of a challenge (make something delicious from this humble beast) and Chef Vince accepted without hesitation. Mainly since the “gourd head” didn’t make a great student?

Chef Vince

So the students bid their friend adieu and considered the tasty results.

Liaison College students

I offered a tried and true recipe from my collection for the class to try. It’s a moist and flavourful zucchini bread that can also do double duty as a muffin. First thing in the mise en place process is to gather the ingredients. How much zucchini did they actually have to work with?

weighing a zucchini

The colossal specimen was weighed and measured. There was a lot to work with. Strategies began to formulate.

chef and students prepping vegetables

And then the manual labour began.

grating a zucchini

But the results were amazing!

close-up of zucchini muffins

Tempted? Try the recipe!

Zucchini Bread Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 2/3 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 5 by 9 inch loaf pans.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Stir in the grated zucchini and then the melted butter.
  3. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over the mixture and stir it in. Add the flour, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation. Sprinkle in the cinnamon and nutmeg over the batter and mix. Fold in the nuts and dried cranberries or raisins if using.
  4. Divide the batter equally between the loaf pans. Bake for 55 minutes (check for doneness at 50 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to cool thoroughly.

Yield: Makes 2 loaves.