Searching for new recipes worth trying out is a lot like trying to “find” new music. Meaning, it’s a real damn struggle. And it’s 100% too easy to just throw your hands up and settle in with an old standby.
Deep down in my soul, I know that no cookie recipe could really be that much more satisfying than what you’ll find on the back of a Tollhouse bag, and the first 15 seconds of any song can’t send good chills down my spine quite like “Be My Baby.” These are things I know to be true.
On the recipe side, there are food TV shows and food podcasts and blogs and magazines and Buzzfeed and special recipe search engines. It can be obnoxious when figuring out what you want for dinner devolves into a qualitative content analysis of exponential sources, made all the more difficult by food bloggers and critics who push special recipes for “clean eating” and vegan adaptability and Paleo things.
And finding new music these days? Forget about it.
Things were different even just a few years ago when, as an overly proud member of the college radio station, I had unprecedented access to new releases and EPs and b-sides and piles of free band stickers. Back then it was a duty and a privilege to spend hours listening to new bands (no matter how bizarre the name, or how much they sounded like The Decemberists) because you couldn’t just go on air every week and play an hour and a half of Motown or music from the O.C. soundtracks.
Things like Spotify and Pandora only enable the music discovery rut, making it all too easy to find yourself listening to Gin Blossoms and Mazzy Star and a bunch of other 90s stuff that the kids today would probably get bored with because there’s not enough bass dropping (or something. I don’t know.)
This week I took one step forward and another step back. That is, I found a new band (without reading Pitchfork, guys) and settled on an old (but perfect, comforting, warm) recipe. Compromises like these are ones I’m willing to make with myself.
And if you’re in need of something that’s classic, worth sharing and easy on the kitchen, keep reading.
Makes 1 loaf. Adapted from The Food Network.
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c old-fashioned rolled oats
3 large eggs
3/4 c vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c grated zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini)
Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan (use a ruler, don’t eyeball the pan measurements if you’re only 80% sure.)
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Next, stir in the oats. Proceed to make a “well” in the middle of the bowl (basically push everything up around the sides so the middle is shallow.)
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla. Pour this mixture into that fancy manmade well/valley you so gracefully constructed and mix everything together lightly. Gently fold in the grated zucchini until everything is well incorporated.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan (remember, it shouldn’t fill the pan to the top; if it does, scoop some out. Please.) Smooth the batter on top with a spatula, mounding it up in the center. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick test (puncturing the center of the loaf) comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before popping it out, then another 10 minutes or more before slicing.
This can be breakfast, second breakfast, late afternoon snack, a la mode dessert, whatever you wish. Wrapped in wax paper and tin foil, it can last for days.