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22 August 2010

gluten-free zucchini bread

potlucks sundays

We love potlucks in this house.

There's something humble and lovely about a potluck. Sure, dinner parties are great: the day of prepping and anticipation, the smells coming from the kitchen, the moment of lowering the main course onto the table and listening to everyone's happy sighs. But the only problem with dinner parties? You only eat your own food.

We're lucky to have friends who are good cooks and food lovers. They're not all chefs or food writers, thank goodness. (It's good to have some variety in our lives, after all.) They're people who love to laugh, sit around on the deck and talk about the lack of sleep we're all getting with toddlers, have strong opinions and gentle hearts, and don't mind a slightly messy house. Nobody worries about what to bring to the potluck. They all love food.

We love our friends. We never get to see them enough.

So, just a few weeks ago, we started a new tradition at our house: open Sunday potlucks.

Every Sunday, from 9:30 to 12:30, our house is open. Whoever can make it that week with a dish of delicious gluten-free food is welcome. This means that every Sunday, we have a different group of friends, a table laden with food, and small children running around the yard giggling.

Plus, to be honest, it forces us to spend a couple of hours every Sunday morning cleaning the house. If you want a clean house, throw a party. This place is actually starting to look pretty good!

Last week, we went to the thrift store on the island and bought a big stack of plates and a box full of coffee cups (wow, there are a lot with kittens on them), each for 50 cents. We keep them in the laundry room, after we have washed them, and bring them out for the next potluck. No more paper plates to throw away. Plus, the person who receives the Golf Maniac coffee cup always laughs.

Each week I have been trying out new baked goods on the crowd. A couple of weeks ago I made what I thought was the first attempt at a zucchini bread, with dried cherries and sunflower seeds. Every one of the people there — none of them on a gluten-free diet — told me, "You're done. This is amazing." None of them missed the gluten at all.

We know that soon the weather will turn chilly. (It started to feel like fall this week, that certain slant of light, as Emily Dickinson called it.) We'll have to move all the food, the children, and the cups into the house. We can't wait. The laughter will be bouncing off the walls.

zucchini bread with dried sour cherries and sunflower seeds

Gluten-Free Zucchini Bread with Dried Cherries and Sunflower Seeds
, adapted from Simply Recipes

The deer ate our zucchini this year. They pretty much ate everything in the garden. So of course, the summer I am bereft of zucchini is the summer I just HAVE to make gluten-free zucchini bread for the first time.

This zucchini bread recipe is adapted from the lovely Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes. You know about Elise, right? She is humble and smart and incredibly generous. More pertinent here, her recipes always work. If I ever want to make something for the first time, I check out what Elise has done first.

This recipe makes two small loaves of zucchini bread, if you have 5 x 9 pans. Baking this zucchini bread is what made me realize we have gargantuan loaf pans, much bigger than 5 x 9. If that's your story too, then you can make one big loaf, as we did. (The baking time will be longer.)

Buying zucchini is worth it for this bread.

Reminder: I give you the flours in weight because that is the only way to ensure the recipe works for you. If you still haven't bought a kitchen scale, please do! In the meantime, try this conversation chart if you insist on measuring in cups.

60 grams teff flour
60 grams oat flour (make sure it's certified gf)
60 grams superfine brown rice flour
240 grams sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups fresh-grated zucchini
2/3 cup (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sunflower seeds

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven t0 350°. Grease 2 5 by 9 loaf pans.

Mixing the dry ingredients
. Sift the teff flour, oat flour, superfine brown rice flour, and sweet rice flour into a large bowl. Mix in the guar gum, xanthan gum, the cinnamon, and the nutmeg. Set aside.

Making the batter. Combine the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add the grated zucchini and melted butter. Stir, gently. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the top of the mixture, then gently stir them in. Add the flour combination to the mix, 1/3 at a time, stirring after each addition. Add the dried cherries and sunflower seeds and stir until they are combined.

Baking the bread. Slide the loaf pans into the oven. Bake the zucchini bread until the tops are browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes, depending on your oven. Allow the bread to cool for 20 minutes, then turn the pans over and gently release the breads onto a waiting cooling rack.

Makes 2 loaves of zucchini bread.

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At 12:51 PM, Blogger maybelle's mom said...

i love this idea. I am trying to get this started this very sunday.

At 12:51 PM, Anonymous said...

What fun! I think more people should start traditions like this. Great to be in community with people and share delicious food. This zucchini bread looks divine! Hope I can some day make it to one your potlucks.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

I love this shauna!! What a beautiful idea... an open potluck... I think I may have to adopt this at our house too! :-) And I attempted gardening this summer... it was a disaster -- i apparently am no green thumb.. I think i'll just support the local CSA from now on! lol...

At 1:09 PM, Blogger Jenny said...

Sounds like church to me. :)
This zucchini bread sounds delish! I'm adding it to my stack of recipes to try... Could it work with fresh cherries if you chopped them up? Or reduce some of the wet ingredients? I'm not sure what to reduce- maybe a little of the zuc & butter?

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Cindy said...

GF zucchini bread is a favorite at my house, especially when I make with chocolate chips. What a good idea to stock up on thrift store dishes and cups for get togethers!


At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Kate B. said...

I hate to be the person asking about flour substitutions, but I'm one of those celiacs who can't really tolerate GF oats. And yet: I adore zucchini bread. Does anyone here, Shauna or commenters, have a general suggestion for flours that would replace oat flour well? Buckwheat? Sorghum?

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks yummy! Off to get teff flour. Just checking about the size of the pan. I have 2 sizes, 9x5 and 8x4. My 9x5 makes a big bread--so do you mean 8x4? Dee

At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Shauna,
I have a question about GF flours: I've made up a batch of your all-purpose GF blend but I've noticed that you don't often use it in your baked goods, choosing instead to do different combinations of GF flours depending on the recipe. When do you use the all-purpose blend? Can it be subbed in for these other combinations or will the recipe not be as successful?

Love the blog -- I've learned so much about eating gluten-free from you! I have your first book and I can't wait for the next one to be released.

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Anna said...

Love to potluck idea. I just moved to a new city in a new state, I look forward to the time when I'll have lots of friends here and can make an open invitation.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks incredible, and the potluck is a wonderful idea.

At 12:04 AM, Anonymous Lori said...

This zucchini bread looks great!

I love the idea of just buying a bunch of mismatched plates! Environmentally friendly and pratical!

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Nicole said...

I love the potluck idea! How wonderful.

Our new thing is an open "cooking class" at our place once every-other week. I recently discovered I have tons of friends who want to learn to cook... so now we cook together and they get to help and learn. It's a blast!

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Meagan said...

Guess what, Bobs Red mill now has a certified gluten free oat flour :)

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Swiss said...

The bread looks so beautiful, love the colors-richness. Your potluck idea is excellent.

At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

How genius is that? Open potluck, so you get to see your friends, enjoy their food, and ensure that your house is clean in the bargain.

I think I'm going to try this, but break it in gently -- maybe once a month.

You always make life sound good.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous kickpleat said...

I know for a fact that that zucchini bread is amazing. I love your idea of an open Sunday and one of these days hope to make it out to Seattle & attend!! Love!!

At 4:17 AM, Anonymous autumn said...

yeah for gluten-free whole grains! i really like this flour blend. i have been seeing a lot of gluten-y whole grain sweet treats lately (whole wheat choc chip cookies!), so i love that you incorporated teff, oat, and brown rice flours in this bread. thank you.

At 12:09 PM, Anonymous elizabeyta said...

Yum! and I did not plant zucchini this year!

We give dinners where I usually make the entry and anybody who asks if they can bring something I say yes! too. It is so much fun :)

At 1:37 PM, Blogger sam said...

grams? You must be joking...

At 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HI Shauna,
So many of your baked recipes look great, and I'd love to make them (I try to eat gf as much as possible), but they always seem to be laden with fat and sugar. It's a bummer, and means I get my baked good recipes elsewhere. Thank you for your blog, though; I'll keep coming back! Sam Z

At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps: I just read the above and see that you don't accept anon comments. I don't mean mine to be insulting at all and totally understand your policy. I don't know how to be un-anonymous though! My email is swzutler@gmail.

At 3:39 PM, Blogger Rachelle said...

This looks wonderful! Have you tried any of these in a bread maker?

At 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is pretty interesting. I haven't tried making zucchini bread. This is a must-try! Thanks a lot for sharing.
dining tables


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