I haven't posted any actual cooking in a while, so here's something that is appropriate this time of year - zucchini bread.
I was introduced to zucchini bread as a child growing up in Green Bay. The recipe my mother made came from Randy Jean Maltby who lived down the street from us. I was a few years older than her girls, but they were around the same age as my youngest sister, and they were constant companions to me and my sisters as we all grew up together. I was first their older playmate, then their babysitter, and then as I reached adulthood, a buddy of Randy Jean's who used to let me in when I needed to escape my own family's chaos. She always had choco tacos on hand, and she made the best zucchini bread.
This is not her recipe, but it's still quite good. This recipe comes from my trusty 1986 Betty Crocker cookbook. And now that the zucchinis are abundant and delicious, my counterpart decided the season was right and asked for a couple of loaves.
I mostly followed the recipe but will note where I deviated:
2 2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup shortening - I substituted unsalted butter because, well, butter
3 cups shredded zucchini - this is about two normal sized ones
4 eggs - I used jumbos
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour - I used White Lilly self-rising flour, and if you do this, you can skip the next three ingredients
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon and ground gloves - I substituted 2 teaspoons of the dreaded pumpkin spice, but here it is entirely appropriate
1/3 cup each chopped nuts and raisins, which I omitted out of personal preference
I let my butter soften overnight and then used the Kitchen Aid mixer to cream it before adding the sugar like you would for cookies. I then added the zucchini, water, and eggs and mixed that until well combined. Then I added the flour, spice, and vanilla and mixed it a few more minutes.
When I use my mixer, I always like to give things a good stir with my rubber spatula after mixing and before pouring into the pan, just to make sure there are no secret clumps of partially-mixed ingredients. It's a good best practice, and I did that here as well.
For this amount of batter, I needed 2 full-sized loaf pans. The recipe says to grease only the bottom of the pan, which I did. After I ladled the batter into my loaf pans, I sprinkled some coarse sugar on top because that is always a nice touch. My loaves baked up in about an hour at 350 degrees, just like the recipe said they would.
The bread came out moist and sweet with a nice crumb and a mild spice flavor. Even though this did not taste like the zucchini bread of my childhood, it still reminded me of pleasant afternoons spent with Randy Jean and her girls as summer turned into fall in a town far away from here.