We love summer’s fresh produce. We dream about it in January, wait impatiently for it through May, then revel in the embarrassment of riches come August.
Then, sometimes, we kinda panic.
How many ways can we deal with zucchini? The cherry tomato plant resembles a scarlet tornado, it’s so prolific. And here comes the next CSA box with, yup, more beets.
Consider quick breads as a tasty solution.
Quick breads are so named because they don’t rely on yeast to rise, but on the more lively ambitions of baking powder and baking soda. They’re also best eaten quickly, or at least within two days, because they are more tender than yeast breads.
Zucchini bread, of course, is the most familiar summer loaf, with a “love it or leave it” following. It’s like banana bread with a punchline.
Our version is flecked with bright green zucchini bits, a hint of ginger and the surprise of orange peel that’s chopped instead of grated for more texture. This recipe deserves to be passed down among the family.
Beets are the surprise ingredient in a chocolate bread, lending moisture without betraying their presence. The earthy loaf gets a whiff of sophistication with some chopped rosemary. This loaf is not overly sweet, which sometimes is just what the summer ordered.
Consider taking a quick bread all the way to savory with a colorful pizza-like loaf infused with roasted cherry tomatoes, cheeses and herbs. It’s not in the recipe, but adding a chopped jalapeño would not be out of line.
And that’s the spirit of looking at your vegetables as source for baked goods: Would a few leaves of spinach enhance the zucchini bread? Maybe instead of rosemary, we try basil with the beets and chocolate. That last quarter-cup of sweet corn kernels might be nice in the roasted tomato loaf.
You get the drift.
At least until the snowy ones arrive.