[posted by Joan]
This summer I have been enjoying cooking and baking with rhubarb. I have gotten armfuls from neighbors as well as at the farmers’ market. I made a rhubarb cordial (with sugar and vodka). Rhubarb crisp, rhubarb bars, and rhubarb bread.
Recently I tried a different version of rhubarb bread, using olvie oil and yogurt. I had tried a few other olive oil and yogurt recipes (one with maple syrup, one with oranges) and loved the moist and tender result. So I adapted a more standard rhubarb bread made with borwn sugar, substituting thick Greek-style yogurt for the milk and lemon juice mixture, and olive oil for the plain oil used in the recipe. I also added chopped crystallized ginger to the bread. I added ground ginger to the crumbly topping as well. I made this recipe twice, and each time people loved it and gobbled it up. A winner!
Today I bought some tender young zucchini at my local farmers’ market, and wondered if I could make the same recipe with grated zucchini instead of the chopped rhubarb.
I set to work. I chopped the zuchinin in the food processor. I chopped the ginger.
Then I realized that I had no brown sugar, a key ingredient. So time to improvise. I used a mix of raw sugar, organic cane sugar and maple syrup. I added ginger and cinnamon to the batter along with the crystallized ginger. I only had a six ounce ontainer of Greek yogurt so I added two TBSP of half and half. And I also added some maple syrup to the topping with a little cane sugar. I decided to experiment with two versions of the zucchini bread. Since the recipe makes two loaves, I divided it in half. I added 1/3 cup chocolate chips to one loaf, and then sprinkled some more chips on top over the topping.
To the other half, I mixed in a good squeeze of lemon juice and the zest of one small lemon.
I put them in my little convection oven and waited to see how they would turn out. I hoped that even if the zucchini version wasn’t as good as the rhubarb, the chocolate would still make it appealing for my chocoholic husband.
The breads baked and I anxiously awaited the time they would be finished baking and cool enough to taste test. They looked and smelled good, how would they taste?
The verdict: they don’t taste like typical zucchini bread. They are moist and flavorful and have a good, tender crumb. The chocolate ginger combination is good and I think my husband will like it. The lemon version needs more lemon: more zest and perhaps juice as well.
They both would be even better if I had had dark brown sugar on hand for the batter and crumb topping. I think that is a key ingredient for this recipe to be great, and not just very good. So perhaps I’ll get another chance to test the zucchini version of this recipe with the full set of ingredients!
- 1 cup plain Greek style yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 2/3 cup Good olive oil
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup unbleached white flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup chopped crystallized ginger
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
- In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, oil and egg. Combine the flours, salt and baking soda, stir into sugar mixture alternately with the yogurt mixture just until combined. Fold in rhubarb. Vanilla, ginger and nuts. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.
- In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the unbaked loaves.
- Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean.