When I was little the neighbors behind us were the nicest older couple named Mr. and Mrs. Mosso. They had a paved driveway, which was rare back then, and they were nice enough to let us kids ride our big wheels up and down their driveway all the time. As if that wasn't nice enough, Mrs. Mosso even bought us candy. I can remember all us kids lining up at her door waiting to reach in the candy dish and pull out one of those chewy square caramels that were so popular back in the day.
I remember my parents standing in the backyard talking to Mr. and Mrs. Mosso all the time and it was a real good day, when late in the summer, Mrs. Mosso came over with her famous Zucchini Bread. Mrs. Mosso made THE BEST ZUCCHINI BREAD and everyone loved it! I remember it would be gone almost as soon as she gave it to us.
Eventually we moved away and shortly thereafter both Mr. and Mrs. Mosso passed away. But every summer without fail, someone would give mom tons of zucchini and she would get out her old battered, well-loved, red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook held together with rubber bands. She would search through her recipe cards until she found the one that Mrs. Mosso had written out for her. The old recipe card of yesteryear with the beautiful cursive script that only the greatest generation used. The one I still have.
Then mom would bake two loaves. One for us to eat. One to share, just like Mrs. Mosso.
Those sure were the good old days. I don't know if my mom knew how close I watched her in the kitchen when she got out her ol' Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook, but that was the
beginning of my love for cooking. That cookbook was magical to me, watching her gather ingredients and make something delicious. Like a diary of my family, with all the recipes and recipe cards from loved ones over the years. It is an undying connection to who I am, my most prized possession. The one thing I would save in a fire. The one thing that will never lose it's magic.
You didn't know you signed up to read a book, did you?
These days I'm making Tessa Kiros' Zucchini Bread which is way different than Mrs. Mosso's. Tessa's recipe is different in that it calls for olive oil instead of vegetable/canola oil, and then she adds in lemon zest, and black pepper.
I didn't notice much of a difference using olive oil in place of the other oils. I did notice a touch of lemon flavor from the added lemon zest, which I thought was a nice addition. The major difference in Tessa's recipe is the pinch of black pepper. Even though it is just a pinch, you can definitely taste the pepper. It lends an interesting taste and really kind of stands out.
Tessa's recipe is a tasty and enjoyable version of a summertime favorite, but the black pepper does lend a distinct spicy taste. If you're in the mood for something different, then this might be the recipe for you. If not, I'm sure you could make this recipe without the black pepper and that would be more like your traditional zucchini bread recipe.
I'm looking forward to eating more of this zucchini bread and I don't mind the black pepper. I will say that even though I enjoy it and am happy I tried it; I'm not likely to make this version again because I prefer Mrs. Mosso's recipe.
Adapted from Apples For Jam
by Tessa Kiros
Makes 10-12 slices
2/3 cup pecans
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
about 3 zucchini, coarsely grated
freshly ground black pepper
Zest of one lemon, or 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Notes: I omitted the pecans because I don't care for the interference of nuts in my quick breads.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 12 x 4" loaf pan. Spread the pecans in a baking pan and toast them in the oven until they are just crisp and lightly roasted (keep a close eye on them so that they don't burn), then remove the pan from the oven and leave them to cool.
Beat the sugar with the oil and vanilla until smooth and then add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Keep on beating until you have a thick , yet light and fluffy batter. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add a pinch of salt, the zucchini, several good grinds of black pepper, and the lemon zest, and fold together well. Coarsely chop the pecans and gently stir through the batter.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the middle of the loaf comes out clean. Leave the pan on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before turning the loaf out onto the rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, buttered if you like. Well wrapped up, this stays moist and soft for days, and it toasts well even after it's lost its moistness.
Cuts into 10 to 12 slices.