Monday, September 2, 2013

Labour Day Again

Labour day snuck up on me this year. I usually see it coming at least a month in advance, and then begin the slow lament of summer's end. But not this year. This year was sunny skies and patio brunches and early morning farmers' markets, and tree ripened peaches and juicy, impossibly sweet watermelons all the way up until this weekend. And then all of the sudden.  Ouf. It's Labour day.

It's in my small tradition on this blog to bake a little something on Labour day to help me ease back into the routine of getting up early, teaching, marking, planning, going to bed at an insanely early hour, and then doing it all over again. Not that it's particularly painful -- I like routines, and I love my job. But after 2 months of adventures and unstructured days, of coffee breaks whenever I felt like it and spending whole days reading in pyjamas, it's kind of hard to let go.

So today, I've made us a chocolately zucchini bread to help smooth over the Labour day jitters and make us feel happy about returning to work or school tomorrow. This bread is dark and deep, but with a very light and fluffy crumb. It's packed with good things like shredded coconut, summer zucchini, cocoa nibs and spelt and just a whisper of those pumpkin pie spices -- nutmeg and cinnamon. It was a great way to use up two zucchinis that I kind of forgot about at the bottom on my crisper, and that quarter cup of coconut milk I was dying to use up. The crunchy topping of flaked almonds and raw sugar make this loaf feel like something really special... and it is! It's a Labour day treat and will last all through the work week.

I'm still sad summer is over for me, but I still look forward to a few more weeks of warm temperatures and fair skies.. and just a few more posts about Vancouver!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches

2 small zucchinis, grated
1 egg
2 tablespoons of safflower oil
2 tablespoons of plain yogurt
1/4 cup of coconut milk
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups of spelt flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg
a small handful each of shredded coconut and cocoa nibs (chocolate chips if you haven't got nibs)
a small handful each of flaked almonds and raw sugar

1. Put your shredded zucchini in the middle of a large tea towel. Gather the towel up around the zucchini pile and then squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze! Try to get as much liquid out of the zucchini as possible. Don't skip this step, otherwise your bread will be gummy.

2. Put the squeezed zucchini, egg, oil, yogurt, coconut milk and brown sugar in a large bowl and mix very well. Sift in the cocoa powder, spelt flour, baking powder and soda, and spices. Mix gently, until just combined.

3. Add in the coconut and cocoa nibs and give it one final stir. Pour the batter in a loaf pan and sprinkle with flaked almonds and raw sugar.

4. Bake the loaf in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, or until the almonds get slightly golden, and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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