"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Monday, June 27, 2011

Healthy Zucchini Bread with Farina di Castagne

If it isn't already obvious - I'm on a bit of a quick bread craze. And the one over arching theme has been to find healthy substitutes for classic American quick bread recipes. When I was working at Cefalicchio this past summer I made zucchini bread with zucchinis from their garden for the guests and the guests all thought it was so exotic. Zucchini bread is a very American dish. It is delicious, especially with pieces of chocolate and similarly to banana bread, there is a lot of room to make it healthy. In Italy, I often made desserts using farina di castagne - which is flour of chestnuts. It's a delicious flour that gives an almost spicy taste to any sweet. It is tricky to work with though because unless the recipe is designed around the chestnut flour - this nut flour should be treated differently and requires different levels of liquid measurements to retain moisture. I am still on the prowl for a comprehensive site that describes how to properly substitute the plethora of flours.

Healthy Zucchini Bread with Farina de Castagne.
(Makes two loafs)

3/4 cup farina di castagne
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/3 cups sugar
3 cups shredded zucchini (12 ounces)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup flax meal
1/3 cup raisins
Pumpkin seeds to garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour two loaf pans.
2. Mix the farina di castagne, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, flax meal and baking soda in a mixing bowl.
3. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and mix with the honey, olive oil, lemon rind, almond extract and sugar. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Mixture will be tough and dry.
4. Add in the shredded zucchini and, as you mix, the moisture will be extracted from the zucchini and make the batter more manageable.
5. Add in the chipped nuts and raisins and mix just until combined.
6. Pour batter evenly into two loaf pans. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
7. Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

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