Category Archives: Breakfast and Brunch

Savory Waffles, Part 1

savory.waffles.1There are officially four days left in the school year. That’s it. Done. First year of teaching over. Shit. If I could share with you the mountain range (roller coaster is far too tame a term) that this year was, I would. The ups and downs though are ones that only the four walls of my classroom and the nineteen people who have grown within them will know.

While at times I felt like we were climbing Mountain Everest in the midst of the largest snowstorm of all time, I would still opt for making the trek. After all, I have come out of the storm and into the sunlight, not at the peak of said mountain, but many steps closer. With each heavy footfall along the way, I learned an unimaginable amount about teaching, about my students, about myself.

I told my coach at our end of the year meeting, “I’ve always considered myself to be very self-aware, but wow have I learned a lot about who I am this year. A lot.”

Still, I was rarely surprised by my self-realizations, except for one: Never, never, never did  I think I could love so much. I love those kids. I love them. More than the whole wide world, whole wide galaxy, and whole wide universe.

Les amo,

Ms. Woll


Savory Waffles

adapted from Aretha Frankenstein

My roommate, Jake, was the brainchild of these waffles. Eating chicken and waffles at Longman & Eagle one morning, he asked, “Do you think you could do savory waffles?” He really meant, “Can you please make savory waffles and then let me eat some?” His questions sparked research, which sparked attempt after delicious attempt to perfect this savory waffle recipe. There are a number of different ingredients you could add to these waffles besides the bacon, Swiss cheese, chives, and beer I use below. Lamb, mint, and carrots with a hint of cumin. Rabbit with apricot jam and emmental. Scallions, soy sauce, and shrimp a la a Korean pancake. Sweet corn, blackberries, and cornmeal substituted for some of the flour. I even have a version with pickle juice brewing in my head. May the experiment continue.

Serves 2 to 4

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (not the stone ground kind!)

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup whole milk or buttermilk (or a combination)

1/4 cup vegetable oil or melted butter

1 egg

3 slices bacon

1/3 cup light beer

1/3 cup freshly shredded Swiss cheese

1/3 cup chives

In a small bowl whisk the maple syrup and Dijon with a fork. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Add the milk, vegetable oil, and egg and mix well. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat. When hot, lay down the bacon in a single layer and let the strips cook for a few minutes without moving. Once they start to curl up, flip the slices over to the other side and cook until they are crispy, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, remove bacon from the pan and place on a cutting board. Let cool slightly; then chop or crumble into small pieces. Set cutting board with bacon aside.

Mix the beer into the batter. It should fizz slightly. Add the bacon along with any of its grease on the cutting board, the Swiss cheese, and chives. Mix just until combined.

Heat a waffle iron to its highest setting. Butter both sides of the iron and follow the directions on your waffle iron to cook the waffles. Serve immediately with the Dijon maple syrup or hold in a 200 degree oven, directly on the rack (don’t stack them or they’ll get soggy). These also can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated in a toaster oven. If you plan to do this, let the waffles cool on a cooling rack. Then, wrap in plastic wrap or seal in a gallon sized plastic bag.


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Egg Quesadilla


I discovered a recipe for omelet like quesadillas on Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 cookbooks, two or so years ago. My mind was blown. Like most people, I love quesadillas. After all, cheese falls second on my “irresistible food list” only to the perfectly prepared baked good. (I’m looking at you buttery, flaky, hip hugging scone.)

Also, like most people, I can’t afford the fatty indulgence of a quesadilla with any sort of regularity. In comes this updated version. Here, a single egg is beaten and cooked to set on a tortilla. The tortilla and egg are flipped to allow the former to brown and the later to cook through. Fillings and toppings are added and viola, breakfast (or lunch or dinner)! The beauty, no need for excessive cheese to create flavor and fill you up. The other beauty, endless options for preparation. In addition to the recipe below, here are some of my other favorite flavor combinations:

– Queso fresco and black beans mixed with cumin, smoked paprika, and lime

– Goat cheese and spinach (with the latter preferably sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes)

– Cream cheese and loads of herbs

– Avocado smashed with a hint of lime and chopped mint all spread in the center

But really, just use whatever you have in your kitchen. (Note my version that follows. Leftover steak from an Argentine restaurant, nearing its life expectancy rapini, and slivers of cheese from one of the seven wedges adorning my refrigerator.)


Egg Quesadilla

inspired by 101 cookbooks

Serves 1

1 small egg


Small splash of olive oil

1 corn or whole wheat tortilla, room temperature

Adobo sauce, to taste

A bit of chihuahua cheese (white cheddar, Monterrey jack, or any other type of mild, white cheese should work too)

Cilantro, chopped (optional)

Beat the egg and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Beat the egg really well, so it’s uniform in color.

In your smallest skillet, over medium heat, add a tiny splash of oil. Let it heat, then add the egg to the pan. Let it set for just 10-15 seconds. Place the tortilla on top of the egg. The top of the egg should still be a bit runny, so it should attach itself to the tortilla as it sets. When you feel like the egg has set enough not to run, flip everything.

Add several drops of adobo sauce over the egg and then sprinkle on the cheese and cilantro, if using. Let cook until the cheese has melted and the tortilla has browned. Fold the tortilla in half and serve. (Alternately, if your tortilla is browned but the cheese isn’t melted yet, after you add the adobo sauce, cheese, and cilantro, fold the tortilla in half in the pan. Stick the whole pan in a hot oven for a minute. Once the cheese is melted, remove the pan from the oven and serve.)

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Filed under Breakfast and Brunch, Main Dishes

Baked Oatmeal


I am a list person, a list person of epic proportions. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard about this trait, I know, and it likely won’t be the last. My list making obsession has become even more intense as of late as my life has spun into chaotic mode once again. I may have even proudly posted one of my completed “to do” lists to Facebook last Sunday. And yes, I did instragram it. (I know you all were wondering.)

Naturally, when I took today off from work to make a long overdue trip to the doctor’s office, I also wrote myself a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to do list. At the top of my Friday list was baking this oatmeal.

My mom introduced this recipe to me over the summer after picking up Heidi Swanson’s latest cookbook, Super Natural Everyday, from the library. She made it. We ate it. The verdict: ok. Then the next morning rolled around. We heated slices up in the microwave. Drizzled some maple syrup on top. Grabbed forks. Ate it again. Verdict number 2: I think I’ll have just one more slice.

Overnight the oats had taken on a firm, but chewy texture and the butter magically shone through. The tartness of the blueberries paired flawlessly with the sweetness of the syrup and the bananas, oh the bananas. I had anticipated a kind of slimy texture because, really, bananas can be kind of slimy, especially when they’re baked. Instead, I would describe them as almost melting into the oatmeal giving it a unique smoothness. Flavor wise, they added a hint of tropicalness that reminded me of my adventures in Central America and my recent trip to the Dominican. On a cold, snowy day in mid-April (No, I did not make a mistake. It was in fact snowing today and it is actually April.), baked oatmeal was exactly what I needed.

Baked Oatmeal

from Super Natural Everyday

I actually like this recipe better the next day. I recommend making this the day before and, once cooled, sticking it in the fridge. The next morning, cut yourself a slice and toss it in the microwave or oven. Drizzle a touch more maple syrup over the top and dive in. The dish lasts in the fridge for about a week, so if you’re just feeding yourself, you now have breakfast for the week!

Serves 6 generously, or 12 as part of a large brunch spread

2 cups / 7 oz / 200 g rolled oats

1/2 cup / 2 oz / 60 g walnut pieces, toasted (see page 219) and chopped

1/3 cup / 2 oz / 60 g natural cane sugar or maple syrup, plus more for serving

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

2 cups / 475 ml milk

1 large egg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 ripe bananas, cut into 1/2-inch / 1 cm pieces

1 1/2 cups / 6.5 oz / 185 g huckleberries, blueberries, or mixed berries

Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C with a rack in the top third of the oven. Generously butter the inside of an 8-inch / 20cm square baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together the oats, half the walnuts, the sugar, if using, the baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, if using, the milk, egg, half of the butter, and the vanilla.

Arrange the bananas in a single layer in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle two-thirds of the berries over the top. Cover the fruit with the oat mixture. Slowly drizzle the milk mixture over the oats. Gently give the baking dish a couple thwacks on the counter top to make sure the milk moves through the oats. Scatter the remaining berries and remaining walnuts across the top.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is nicely golden and the oat mixture has set. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Drizzle the remaining melted butter on the top and serve. Sprinkle with a bit more sugar or drizzle with maple syrup if you want it a bit sweeter.

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Houska and/or Vanocka


I had a short phase in my awkward middle school days when I proclaimed a deep hatred for the holidays. They were, in my sophisticated 12 year old mind, much ado about nothing. Sometime mid-high school I saw the folly of my ways and converted back into a holiday lover. Minus the last minute gift shopping and the month long, stress induced head ache, what’s not to love?

Several weeks ago I read a short vignette by Anna Quindlen. In the vignette, she describes how she found one of her best teachers on the boardwalk of Coney Island. When she asks him why he doesn’t find a shelter or check into a hospital for detox, he responds, “Look at the view, young lady. Look at the view.” I’ve been trying to stop and look at the view more often. When I do, what I see is heartening. Just this past weekend, in the middle of dinner with friends, I stopped shoving fish tacos down my mouth for a minute, sat back, and really opened my eyes. I saw me – blessed with good fortune and a pinch of innate drive – in a warm room, in my favorite city, surrounded by smiling, laughing friends. It’s hard to describe the beauty of life in a few short words, but perhaps that’s where its greatness lies. When you see life’s beauty, you don’t need to explain it. Your heart knows.


While we should soak up this beauty every time of the year, for some reason the holidays are one of the few moments most people actually stop to appreciate it. I think its the tradition. It grounds us, comforts us, brings us together. In my family, Christmas traditions are plentiful, but, of course, my favorites involve food. Christmas food in my family means a lot of things, among them, houska. Every year my grandma and uncle venture to Berwyn to pick up our supply of houska, a yeasted Czech bread filled with raisins and topped with almonds. This year, I was determined to make it. Yes, I would brave my fear of yeast and make houska. Watch me. Just watch.

My mom always tells me, when I put my mind to something, I do it. So, I put my mind to making houska. Knowing I might need some moral and kneading support, I recruited Kent to help me. Kent, who I met freshman year of high school and who hasn’t been able to shake me yet, and his family are, like mine, Czech. They eat liver dumpling soup, kolacky, and fruit dumplings. Most importantly, they eat houska, although they know it as vanocka. (I’ve done some research and it seems like vanocka is the preferred term, while houska is a regional term for the same thing. Although, there’s quite a bit of internet debate about the terminology.)

Regardless, houska, vanucka, or just really good bread, was made and eaten yesterday in keeping with the Czech traditions our families hold near and dear. Kneading, braiding, then baking. It was one of those “take a look at the view” moments. You know what I mean.

houska.4Houska and/or Vanucka

from Midwest Living, December 1988 (aka my Grandma)

This houska was more dense than the kind my family gets from the bakery. Kent said his family’s is normally dense like this version though. Who knows? Be sure your yeast is nice and bubbly before using it and don’t skimp out on the rising time. (We missed some of the rising time, which might be cause for the density too. A repeat will be attempted as soon as this loaf disappears for texture experimenting purposes.) I like serving my houska toasted with apple butter or raspberry jam. Just saying.

Makes 1 braid

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

2 teaspoons salt

2 eggs

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup warm milk (105 to 115 degrees)

1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

1 cup light raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 beaten egg yolk

Add yeast to warm water and stir until yeast has dissolved. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes. Yeast should be bubbly.

Meanwhile, in a mixer bowl, beat together sugar, butter, and salt. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in 1 cup of the flour. In a separate bowl, combine milk, peel, mace, and yeast mixture. Beat into flour mixture. Stir in as much remaining flour as you can with a spoon. Stir in raisins and nuts.

Turn out onto floured surface. If all the flour has not been used, knead in the remaining amount to make a moderately soft dough that’s smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover; let rise in warm place till double, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down; divide in half. Divide 1 portion of dough into fourths for the bottom braid; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, divide the remaining bread dough into 5 portions for the other 2 layers of the dough. Cover those portions and set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, form each of the first 4 portions into 16-inch-long ropes. On a greased baking sheet, arrange the 4 ropes, 1 inch apart. Overlap the center 2 ropes to form an X. Take the outside left rope and cross over the closest middle rope. Then, take the outside right rope and cross under the closest middle rope. Form an X with the 2 new center ropes. Repeat braiding until you reach the end. Pinch ends together; tuck under. Turn baking sheet and braid on opposite end. Gently pull width of braid out slightly.

Form remaining 5 portions into 16 inch long ropes. Braid 3 of the ropes together. Brush the 4 strand braid with water and center the second braid on top; gently pull width of top braid out.

Twist the remaining 2 strands of dough together. Brush the top braid with water; place the twist on top of the second braid. Cover the shaped dough and let rise till nearly double.

Brush surface of the shaped dough with egg yolk. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cover the loaf with foil during the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.


Filed under Breads, Breakfast and Brunch

Ginger Scones


I know what you’re thinking: “Jess, you’ve been missing from the blogosphere for almost 3months and now you’re back with another scone recipe. Another. This is like scone recipe number 3. Give us something new.” This isn’t like scone recipe number 3, it is scone recipe number 3. Clearly, I like scones. Love may actually be a more appropriate verb. Love. Yes, love.

While you’re getting a recipe here, I’m not quite sure how to give you the rest of a post. It has been too long, but at the same time, not quite long enough. A summary would be insufficient. A novella would be boring. So I’ll spare you feelings of incompleteness and utter disinterest. Instead, since I’m already talking about love, I’ll share with you my new one(s).

Since mid October I have felt in control. I have even had rare flashes of that power trippy, take on the world feeling. Then this week came and with it, I hit a wall. Not just any wall. No, no. A giant, brick, I-am-guarding-a-fortress wall a la that in the Battle for Helms Deep.  Thursday morning I lay in bed hitting snooze one time, two times, three times…asking myself just as many times if I had to get up. This was, of course, not the first time this question had run through my head since August, but it was the first time I couldn’t shake it. Even as I went through the motions of getting ready for the day, the feel stayed.


Like a curtain call, I played on repeat the names and images of my students. That feeling, the one that made me want to curl up in my blankets and never leave, began to disappear. Love, as cheesy as it sounds (because let’s be real, it sounds cheesy) won out.

I have 18 new loves. They drive me up a wall sometimes, but they also drive me to be a better version of myself. And at the end of the day, the people you love should push you, challenge you, force you one step closer to being that person you aspire to become. So to my students, thank you. I love you.

Ginger Scones

adapted from A Taste of Heaven

If you’re not a huge ginger fan, I think you’re crazy, but you’re in luck. Just omit the ground ginger and substitute a cup of your favorite dried, frozen, or fresh fruit or chocolate chips for the crystalized ginger. If you use frozen fruit, the dough will become stiff. You’ll have to knead the fruit into the dough for several minutes.

Egg whites will give the scones a pretty, shiny outer layer. In terms of flavor though, they don’t have an effect, which is why I said they were optional below. If you’re making these for guests, use them to make the scones more elegant. If you’re making them for yourself, I wouldn’t bother.

Makes about 14 scones

3 cups flour (use Gold Medal Unbleached)

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold, cut into pieces (I usually put mine in the freezer 15 minutes before I use it)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

2 egg whites, lightly beaten (optional)

1 cup crystalized ginger, coarsely chopped

In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using your finger tips until the mixture resembles corn meal. You should still see some tiny chunks of butter though. (This can also be done in the bowl of a food processor instead. That means more dishes though…).

Stir the vanilla and buttermilk together in a measuring cup.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the vanilla buttermilk combination into the center of the dry ingredients. Using your hands or a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet, just until the dough forms a ball. The dough will be sticky. Stir in the crystalized ginger using a spatula or wooden spoon.

Grease a baking sheet with butter. Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough into 2-inch balls and place them on the greased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Don’t worry about them being perfectly round. Place the baking sheet in the freezer, until the dough is at least firm to the touch, about 1 hour.

If you want to bake the scones at that time, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Brush the frozen scones with the egg whites, if using, then place the scones on a middle rack. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until just beginning to brown. If you do not want to bake the scones yet, place the dough balls in a plastic ziplock bag and keep frozen until you’re ready to use them. Bake using the instructions as above.


Filed under Appetizers and Snacks, Breakfast and Brunch, Grains

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Pancakes

It has been exactly one month since my last post. That’s bad. Really bad. It means, clearly, that life (aka teaching) has taken over. But it also means that I, as usual, have let myself become ensnared in it. Let me catch you up on the trap I’ve fallen into. In the past month I have: signed a lease for an apartment, bought a new car, started working at a CPS turnaround school. Done. Trapped. But are we ever not?

Given that teaching has filled every cell of my body every minute of my day, I have done a lot of thinking around the theme. Teach for America is often condemned for sending unprepared recent college graduates into beyond challenging classrooms. Legitimate. I feel unprepared. That being said, so do some of my co-workers who have been teaching for years. Perhaps that’s because my school, being a turnaround, has an entirely new staff. Even those teachers with a couple years under their belts are new to this school. Or perhaps that’s because you’re never really one hundred percent prepared for that group of kids sitting in front of you, letting you shape their lives. I don’t know. I just don’t.

I don’t know that it’s possible to train young people for five weeks, throw them into a classroom, and expect incredible growth among their students year one. I don’t know that Teach for America expects that. I don’t know if there’s a better way to help our self-destructing education system either.

What I do know is this, no ever told me about that sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize just how far behind your students are. When you realize that you have to teach a nine year old the sound the letter “u” makes. When you realize what that means about their past education and their future dreams. No ever told me. Or they did and I just didn’t listen. Because lets be real, that reality doesn’t sink in until   your classroom is filled with these kids, your students, who you are tasked with educating. It’s then that you can’t help but wonder if it’s possible to achieve what really needs to be done, not to get ahead, but to catch up. It’s then that things get real. Way too real.

All that I just sputtered out is what has kept me away from the kitchen. But no more. Tomorrow is my mom’s birthday. I’m making Busy Day Cake. I have figs waiting to be broiled (and topped with ricotta and honey…). I have broccoli waiting to be sauteed. Goodbye granola bars. Hello real food.

I’d ramble on about these pancakes, just like I did about teaching, but it’s not necessary. I already know what I think about these pancakes. They’re my new favorites. Hands down. Winner.

Whole Wheat Banana Walnut Pancakes

from Joy the Baker

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus additional for brushing the skillet

1 1/2 cup whole milk, plus additional if needed

1 ripe banana, diced or mashed

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Maple syrup, for serving

Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl  Whisk together yolks, oil and 1 1/2 cups milk in another bowl and add to the flour mixture, whisking until smooth.  Let batter stand for 5 minutes to allow flour to absorb liquid (batter will thicken).

If batter is too thick to fall easily from a spoon, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons additional milk.

Fold in banana and walnuts.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer at moderately high speed until they just hold stiff peaks.  With a whisk, gently but thoroughly fold into batter.

Brush a griddle or 12-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Reduce heat to moderate.  Working in batches of 4, spoon 2 tablespoons batter per pancake into a hot skillet, spreading it if necessary to form 3- 3 1/2 inch rounds.  Cook pancakes until bubbles appear on surface, edges are set and undersides are golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute.  Flip pancakes with a metal spatula and cook until undersides are golden and pancakes are cooked through.  Lower heat if pancakes brown too quickly and insides aren’t set.  Transfer pancakes to plate and serve with maple syrup.  Brush griddle with more oil between batches.

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Zucchini Bread

Good, old fashioned, traditional banana bread holds a place near and dear to my heart. Despite my (delicious) attempts to put a “new spin” on it, I hold zero qualms with baking up a batch of the sugar loaded quick bread. And, when left with overripe bananas, that is typically precisely what I do. On those rare occasions that I veer from my standby recipe, I am left with a feeling of guilt, like I’ve stood up an old friend to go hang out with the new, cool kid. Lets be real though, tomorrow I’ll be eating lunch with my said friend again.

Perhaps it is because I never ate it as a child, but zucchini bread does not require the same devotion to tradition that its banana counterpart does. So, when I put zucchini bread on my “to cook this summer” list (3 down, 18 to go…), I did not even ponder a “normal” recipe. Instead I began scouring the internet. My search quickly resulted in several potential options, but noneseemed quite right. But then, I found it. Folks, I had a winner. You can thank Heidi at 101 cookbooks. Then you can thank me for finding it, baking it, and sharing it. I’ll say you’re welcome in advance.

Heidi’s zucchini bread, appropriately titled “My Special Zucchini Bread”, is just that. The bread, while still perhaps truly a cake, is not saturated with the butter and sugar that, all too often, are added in astounding quantities to cover up a lack of true flavor. That means the remaining ingredients—which include not only a whole three cups (!) of shredded zucchini, but also walnuts, poppy seeds, and crystallized sugar—can shine. Texture, in addition to flavor, goes above and beyond here. Who, after all, doesn’t love the light snap of poppy seeds? What about the substantial crunch of walnuts? Or the subtle chew of crystallized ginger? You get the point.

Zucchini Bread

from 101 cookbooks

My Dad and I both agreed, this bread was better the next day. Hot out of the oven, it was delightful, but the ginger flavor was a little too overpowering. By the next morning though the flavors had melded perfectly making the bread at once nutty, spiced, and sweet. If you absolutely cannot wait, consider adding a little less ginger.

Makes 2 loaves

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1/3 cup poppy seeds (optional)

Zest of two lemons (optional)

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 cups grated zucchini (about 3 medium), skins on, squeeze some of the moisture out and then fluff it up again before using

3 cups whole wheat pastry or all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter the two loaf pans, dust them with a bit of flour and set aside. Alternately, you can line the pans with a sheet of parchment. If you leave a couple inches hanging over the pan, it makes for easy removal after baking. Just grab the parchment “handles” and lift the zucchini bread right out.

In a small bowl combine the walnuts, poppy seeds, lemon zest, and ginger. Set aside.

In a mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat again until mixture comes together and is no longer crumbly. Add the eggs one at a time mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Stir in the vanilla and then the zucchini (low speed if you are using a mixer).

In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in two batches, stirring between each addition.

By hand, fold in the walnut, poppy seed, lemon zest, and crystalized ginger mixture.  Avoid over mixing the batter, it should be thick and moist.

Divide the batter equally between the two loaf pans. Make sure it is level in the pans by running a spatula over the top of each loaf. Bake for about 40-45 minutes on a middle oven rack. Keep in mind it will continue to cook even after it is removed from the oven as it is cooling. (This means you might want to under cook it just ever so slightly!) Remove from the oven and cool the zucchini bread in pans for about 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks to finish cooling. If you leave them in their pans, they will get sweaty and moist (not in a good way) as they cool.

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