Showcase one of summer's favorite vegetables with a delicious quick bread recipe from The Culinary Institute of America. Zucchini's green, plump, homegrown goodness is an ideal baking ingredient, providing color, moisture, and nutrition. Commonly served as a breakfast pastry or as a simple dessert, zucchini bread makes a scrumptious snack when paired with a glass of cold milk.
**An important, but often overlooked, guideline is the importance of sifting dry ingredients together to remove lumps and to blend them evenly. Sifting helps to ensure a fully combined batter with minimal mixing time. Also, all ingredients should be at room temperature before they are added. Ingredients that are too cold may cause the batter to separate or curdle. If the batter should separate, continue to mix until it becomes smooth again.
**Before mixing begins, toast the nuts. Toasting nuts intensifies their natural flavor and enhances the finished product. For a small quantity of nuts, such as the amount in the following recipe, preheat a dry skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, scatter the nuts in a single layer without crowding them. Gently swirl the pan or stir the nuts frequently to allow for even toasting. Immediately transfer toasted nuts to a cool container. This keeps them from continuing to brown. Toasting nuts before chopping them produces the best results.
**To further enhance the appearance and flavor, Chef Marc Haymon, lecturing instructor in baking and pastry at The Culinary Institute of America, recommends topping the zucchini bread with sunflower seeds before baking.