Remember these guys?
We’re still working on them. We’ve made two giant batches of stir-fry, a giant pot of minestrone, gave half of one to our neighbor, who made a stir-fry, as well, and finally, I made bottle gourd bread. (I still have a big chunk of one of these left that will probably make its way into something else before it’s all said and done.)
I know that “Bottle Gourd Bread” doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, but it’s really a zucchini bread. The bottle gourd is actually a squash, not a gourd, as gourds are technically inedible. You could also use pumpkin, which is actually a squash, if you want. Really, any squash will work. Now say “squash” ten times, very slowly, until you start giggling uncontrollably because “squash” is a funny thing to say. This bread is really good, though. We took some over to J’s parents and before we left our house, J told me not to tell his dad what was in it, but just to call it “spice bread”, so that his dad, a known vegetable-phobe, would eat it. When we got there, however, J’s dad asked me what it was and I blurted it out without thinking. He ended-up eating a piece anyway, probably to be polite, but actually enjoyed it and pronounced it “very good”.
Bottle Gourd/Zucchini/Squash Bread (makes two loaves)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 cups grated squash
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8×4 inch pans. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices together in a bowl. Set aside. Beat the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together in a large bowl until well-mixed. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat well. The batter is going to be dry and resemble cookie dough. Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong, because at this point you’re going to add the grated squash. Once you add that, and blend well, the batter will become substantially wetter. Divide the batter evenly between the two loaf pans. If you want to gild the lily, you can sprinkle a little raw sugar on top to give it a nice crunch. Bake for 40-60 minutes, until a toothpick comes-out clean and the bread springs back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, or so, and then turn-out the bread onto cooling racks until it’s completely cool. This stuff is great warm, but it will tear the bread if you try to cut it too early.
You can stop right there if you want, and it will be absolutely delicious, however, my mother always made zucchini bread with icing and so I shall always make my zucchini/bottle gourd bread with icing, as well, amen.
Bottle Gourd/Zucchini/Squash Bread Icing
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tbsp. milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Whisk the confectioner’s sugar, milk and vanilla together in a bowl. Pour over cooled bread and let sit for another 20 minutes, or so, if you can wait that long. One thing to note – you don’t want to add too much vanilla because the mixture will be too runny. If you have one of those little measuring cups that’s a 1/4 cup total, marked with tablespoons, put a dash of vanilla in there and then enough milk to equal 1 tbsp. If not, just eyeball it. If you make it too runny, you can add a little more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it up. As they say, it’s not rocket science.
What about you? What yummy things have you been making with this year’s bounty?