Genius that I am, it just wouldn't sink in that my oven was broken. Kaput. What's a girl with a food blog to do with a rotten piece of luck like that? And to add insult to injury, it broke the day of the Great Alaskan Clean-Out-Your-Freezer Potluck.
It's a gas oven and there was no spark and there was no gas. Everyone at the potluck who knew the slightest thing about ovens gladly got down on their hands and knees to take the oven's bits apart piece by piece, blow on them, shake them around a little, poke here, poke there, there was even some clunk clunk clunking, before saying definitively, "HUH!"
Very disappointing. And because tax time is fast approaching (wait, what's the date today?) as well as a weeklong vacation to Portland, I was very reluctant to call a repairman. I know how much Uncle Same wants, the bastard, but who knows how much money a freaking appliance repairman would take me for.
Luckily, the husband recently bought a camper to take overnight fishing (more on that later) and he was more than happy to fire up its little oven, running back and forth, baking things left and right. It seemed to make him feel downright useful and so smart for buying that camper when he did for such a scream of a deal.
But like I said, it just wouldn't sink in that the oven was broken. I'd be sitting at work dreaming up what we would have for dinner that night... roast vegetables, roasted fish, maybe a cake... oh wait a minute, the oven's broken! Scratch all that.
I'd do the same thing at the market. Hungering for a pizza, I'd remember the oven was broken and the very next moment, I'd be gathering the goods to make a calzone.
Not until I got home and reached to fire up the oven would I remember... DAMN IT.
It's like during a power outage when it just doesn't click that there is no light, anywhere, and no you can't open the refrigerator door and read by that light either.
This went on for a week or so. I even hauled the crockpot out and dusted it off and told it to get ready to work. Then on Sunday I was firing up the stovetop (thank god that still worked) and I decided just for the hell of it to turn the oven on too. I promptly forgot I'd done so. Then a few minutes later the little beep went off, signaling the oven was all preheated for me.
Yeah right, I thought. Oh oven, don't be cruel.
But then I opened the door and what do you think happened? A blast of very hot air came rushing out. It even blew my hair back a little, that gush of heat.
It fixed itself!
You can bet I raised both arms in the air and shook my V for Victory fingers. And spun around a few times. Oh yes, there was spinning. Lots of spinning.
Which brings me to last night's dinner. Some nights you want an honest-to-god dinner with all four food groups represented. But other nights, all you want is a little something un-dinner-like. Scrambled eggs maybe. Ice cream perhaps.
I rummaged around in the fridge and came out with two zucchinis and a lemon, remnants from a CSA box. I leafed through a few cookbooks until I found a recipe that was just right.
I have this cookbook I bought years ago in the bargain books section at Borders. Mary Englebreit's Queen of the Kitchen Cookbook. I don't turn to it all that often (my cookbooks are sadly neglected because I get most of my recipes from my best friend, the Interweb) but everything I've made from it is really top-notch. The index lists things like Best-Ever Devil's Food Cake, Diner-Style Meatloaf, Filet MIgnon with Wild Mushrooms, Lemon and Chive Salmon Cakes, Farmhouse Walnut Pie, the list goes on and on. Pretty pictures. Good recipes. Mm. Mm. Mm.
Mary calls this zucchini-lemon quick bread. I decided to call it zucchini with everything bread because it really does have a little something for everyone -- lemon zest and juice, craisins, almonds (although I used walnuts), and of course, zucchini. The top of the bread turns out crunchy and candy-like. Inside, it's all soft and moist and bursting with flavor.
For dinner that night, I had a couple of slices of this and a couple of shots of good whiskey. I had the house to myself and could indulge myself with this rather unorthodox but totally delicious dinner.
I'll be making this again real soon.
Zucchini with Everything Bread
Makes one loaf
1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t allspice
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
3/4 c sugar
6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
2 T grated lemon zest
1/4 c fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
1 t vanilla
2 c grated zucchini
1 cup chopped nut -- walnuts, blanched almonds, etc.
1/2 c dried cranberries or golden raisins
Melt your 6 T of butter and set aside to cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, melted butter, eggs, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla with an electric mixer until well blended. With a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, stir in the zucchini. Add the flour mixture and stir until blended. Fold in the nuts and cranberries. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices and serve.