Sometime in August my friend Monica forwarded me an e-mail with the note: “Why haven’t we heard about this?”
It was an invitation to the Boston Food Swap. Essentially, it’s a silent bidding auction where you bring something you made or grew and use it to bid on items from other people. It’s low-key, fun, and a nice way to meet other people who are interested in making and sharing their own food.
My weekend was packed so I got up at the crack of dawn this morning to make my bid items. Since I haven’t gotten into canning or pickling, I decided to bring zucchini bread since it’s seasonal and one of those comfort foods most people like. But I think zucchini bread also must considered kind of hokey since none of my hipster cookbooks included any recipes for it. Maybe it has something to do with the amount of zucchini that flows through August and September: Everyone has already memorized a recipe for zucchini bread or simply tired of it.
I turned to trusty Betty Crocker for my recipe and decided to add Ghiradelli chocolate chips, just to jazz it up a bit. If I was more organized I would have tried making loaves with applesauce instead of vegetable oil. I also ran short of oil for one batch so I swapped in half melted butter and it seemed to work just fine. I cut up a loaf for people to sample and one woman asked how I got my bread to be so moist. I have no idea. Total luck I think, or just a decent recipe.
The offerings at the food swap ranged from lime marmalade, to duck eggs, to tomato jam, to chocolate toffee and granola. Monica brought an African-inspired peanut and sweet potato soup. I filled my basket with dill butter, pumpkin butter and vegan graham crackers, duck eggs, strawberry jam, chak chaks, mozzarella balls, and a container of Monica’s soup.
Monica declared that “she won” the food swap because she got all the bid items she wanted (I plan to invite myself over for some lime marmalade ASAP, that stuff was unusual and surprisingly good!). We are already planning strategies for the next swap to maximize our bidding powers. All in all it was a fun way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon!
Zucchini Walnut Bread
From Betty Crocker
3 cups shredded zucchini (2 to 3 medium)
1-2/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup vegetable oil (or 1/3 oil, 1/3 melted butter)
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease bottoms of 4 3″x6″, 2 8″x4″, or 1 9″x5″ loaf pans with shortening or cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs until well mixed. Stir in remaining ingredients. Divide batter evenly between pans.
Bake 50-60 minutes for 6-inch and 8-inch and pans; 1 hour 10 to 1 hour 20 for 9-inch pans. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean when the bread is finished. Cool in pans on cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Loosen sides from pans and remove, allow to cool on the cooling racks completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.
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