TITLE: Camel-Chini (Recipe: Zucchini Bread)
DATE: 9/04/2009 09:08:00 AM
I have few memories of the year my family lived in Israel when I was 3-years old. But I remember the memories, and they have tinted the stories of my childhood when we were back in the States. The Passover story, recited every year at the Seders around the globe, tells of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt during the time of Pharoh. For most of my youth, I thought we were actually part of that exodus – and that’s why we were in Israel. And when my father served us camel-chini at dinner, instead of the usual zoo-chini, it made sense that we would eat that because we used to live in the Middle East.
When I returned to my garden after a week on the farm, I didn’t know what to expect. I forgot to follow the weather to see if it rained, though I believe the temperatures were a scorching 90+ for several days. Would the tomatoes wither from the blight? Would I finally have zucchini? And would my tiny little lettuce seedlings that I planted the week before survive?
I had two zucchinis the size of baseball bats. Maybe these were the storied camel-chini of my youth? I immediately sliced up the first for that night’s dinner. It was tough and woody – not pleasing at all. With all sorts of zucchini breadrecipes popping up all over the blog-o-sphere, I realized that grating was the only way to combat the texture.
Yesterday, I tore out the zucchini plant. While I had hopes of a bumper crop, I only harvested those two overgrown specimens. And I’ve come to realize this happens because of where I planted the seeds. I’m so concerned about overgrown plants, peddling zucchini plants on my street, that I plant them in the least sunny patch of the garden. And with the torrential rains this summer, I discovered that location also gets the most run-off. If I’m to plant zucchini again, I need to commit to a sunnier location.
2 to 2 1/2 cups shredded zucchini 1 cup vegetable oil 3 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups sugar 3 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray two 9″ x 5″ bread pans with nonstick spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Beat sugar into mix until it is thoroughly creamed.
Once liquids and sugar are well mixed, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until batter is well blended and even in texture. The batter should be smooth, outside the zucchini shreds. If it’s not, add a little juice from the zucchini. Pour batter evenly into pans.
Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until bread is brown and springs back when gently pressed in the middle.
DATE:9/04/2009 10:17:00 AM
Thanks for the story, and Camel-chini he-he.
AUTHOR:T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types
DATE:9/04/2009 11:31:00 AM
Great story, and interesting learning on the zucchini harvest. I have a similar recipe that uses one cup of whole wheat flower along with the touch of cinnamon. It's really addicting!
DATE:9/05/2009 03:40:00 PM
I had the same problem with my zoo- chini this year. The skin was like leather, the seeds as big and tough as pumpkin seeds. Not sure whether it was the weather, my picking them too late, or the variety I planted. Very frustrating. This recipe will provide a nice use for the few I have left in the garden. Thanks.