10.25.2009

Zucchini Bread

Today made me realize how important family really is. My whole life I've lived across the field (literally; I have a plantain field in front of my house) from this boy named J (I'm keeping his whole name private in order to respect his privacy and what his family is going through). We've grown up together; we used to hang out all the time when we were little. Once middle school came around, we stopped seeing each other as much, and that field became a giant wall between us. No lie, I didn't see him again until probably my senior year of high school. I saw him biking down the street as I was driving home from work. I pulled over and invited him to my house. We spoke about everything, and that's when I found out he really wanted to go to UM for college. I told him I had been accepted there, and to feel free to call me once my college year started in order for me to tell him all about it. You see, J and I were born a month apart (I was in September, he was in October). Because of that, we were separated into different grades. Anywho, once my sophomore year started, he came to me for help in picking his classes. Throughout all these years, his parents had been really good friends with my parents all along. Around the same time that J came to me for school help, my parents told me that J's mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I didn't know what to say, or how to help, but I managed to lend him an eager-to-listen ear, just in case he ever wanted to talk. After that news came around, I kind of lost touch with J again. He did his own thing, as well as I did my own thing. I would get updates all the time from my parents about how his mom was doing. This morning, I woke up to news from parents about J's mom's condition getting worse. Throughout the past year and a half, J's mom had been through surgeries and chemo, and nothing was helping her. The cancer had even spread to her liver and kidneys. Today, well, today seemed to be the day for J's mom to join the countless others that throughout history have gone on to what's beyond life. We went to visit J and his family, and seeing his mom there so helpless, so tired, so, well, I don't know how to put it, defeated (?), it all made me realize that I really have to appreciate my family, regardless of how annoying they can be most of the time. I haven't heard any news yet, so it's safe to assume she's still fighting and willing to live. I really hope she'll be ok, and also, I hope J will be ok. He's an only child, like me, and he's always been really close to his mom. I'll definitely be keeping J and his family, especially his mom, in my prayers tonight. I'd really appreciate it if you all would do the same.

After we all came back home, I decided to bake something for my parents tailored to their tastes. I knew that they had just bought some zucchini, and they've always liked breads that have vegetables in them, so I decided to make some zucchini bread from Williams-Sonoma: Bread. It ended up being extremely flavorful and very moist. It was a big hit among my parents, and it was gone within a couple of hours. This recipe featured a very helpful side note:

"LOAF PANS: Loaf pans give form to breads that are too moist to hold their own shape. They range in size and shape, but the standard size is 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches, with a capacity of 5 1/2 cups. Be careful when trying to substitute a pan of a different size than what's called for in a recipe. As a rule of thumb, the batter should fill the pan about two-thirds full. Use less batter, and you will have a flat loaf. Fill the pan too full, and you will end up with an overflowing, top-heavy loaf that looks awkward and is difficult to slice."

Zucchini Bread
*makes one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf*

Ingredients:
8 oz zucchini, trimmed
1/2 cup canola oil, plus extra for greasing
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped pitted moist-pack prunes
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan.
2) Using the large holes of a box grater-shredder or the large-holed shredder blade of a food processor, shred the zucchini. You should have about 1 cup. Set aside.
3) In a bowl, combine the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat vigorously with a whisk or with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and creamy, about 1 minute. Stir in the shredded zucchini until blended.
4) In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, prunes, and walnuts. Add the flour mixture to the zucchini mixture and stir just until combined. The batter will be stiff. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
5) Bake until the bread is firm to the touch and pulls away from the pan sides, 50-60 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the center of a loaf should come out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn the bread out, place upright on the rack, and let cool completely.

2 comments:

  1. This is nice that you care enough to share his story...we meet people who go through these things, and are affected by disease, but then they are gone, poof, and forgotten...you are kind soul to ponder his probable aching heart...

    I keep saying I am going to make this bread, and I never seem to...I have the loaf pans! and I love William Sonoma!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was no problem at all sharing his story. I know that many out there go through the same thing, and in times of despair they feel as if they're the only ones in the world. I just wanted to maybe help them out in some way.

      You definitely have to make this bread! It's amazing; a total hit! Let me know when you make it :)

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