blackened zucchini bread

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There’s just enough tension in this blog to keep things interesting. This tension—between my expectations for myself and my actual abilities and accomplishments—has plagued me (and my therapists) for pretty much my entire life.

For example, today I had hoped to:

A) Wake up early and get some homework/interviews done
B) Go for a nice, brisk walk or run
C) Visit the SCAD career fair with a fresh face and plenty of copies of my résumé to go around
D) Plant an herb garden on my balcony
E) Clean my apartment
F) Bake some deliciously perfect zucchini bread.

Here’s what actually happened:

A) I woke up at 10:30 a.m. with a hangover and found a half-eaten bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in the kitchen
B) Walked in the rain without an umbrella to wait for the ever-evasive psychic I’m hoping to interview for an assignment
C) Didn’t make it to the career fair
D) Spoke with the psychic after she stood me up in an attempt to set up a specific interview time—she got my number (why did she need to ask for it?) and said she would “text me in the morning”
E) Burned the everliving shit out of some zucchini bread
F) Had a drink at Wet Willie’s and called it a night.

We can’t view these things as “failures” because that only leads to anxiety and depression. It’s all relative, anyway.

Right?

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I’m going to provide you with the recipe, anyway, and just blame my misfortune on the fact that my pint-sized oven is the equivalent of a kid’s Easy Bake. (Also maybe the fact that I suck, hard, at cooking.)

I based most of my recipe off of this smitten kitchen version, the only difference being that I didn’t mix all the dry ingredients together before incorporating them into the wet ingredients (there was no well-informed reason for this—I just didn’t care enough).

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 3 eggs
• 1 c olive oil (or vegetable oil…or, whatever)
• 1 3/4 c sugar
• 2 c grated zucchini (this was surprisingly easy to grate; I used my mom’s old 19th century prototype grater and had no trouble)
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 3 c all-purpose flour
• 3 tsp cinnamon (that sounds like a lot because it is)
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg (alas, I had none, so I added more cinnamon)
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans (I used walnuts)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Generously grease two 8X4 loaf pans (mine were 8X2 because I couldn’t find a different size, and if you’ve ever been to the downtown Kroger, you know that everyone there is a hot mess 24/7, i.e. either 400 lbs and in a motorized cart, talking to themselves like a schizophrenic, or pulling 5 hysteric kids along behind them, so I didn’t take much time to look for the appropriate size. I apologize to my girlfriend for being too judgmental—you’re right, I am. But really).

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Then add in the sugar, oil, vanilla and zucchini. The mixture will begin to look like mucus with little green things floating in it.

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Add whatever the hell else you have left. If you want to be meticulous, combine the dry ingredients first—you could even sift them if you want to be a real douche—and then slowly mix them in. (Side note: I accidentally deleted my entire original post, so I’m having to re-write it. Hence the unnecessarily aggressive language. Sorry…)

Pour the batter into the pans and bake for about an hour, or until an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean. I checked mine after about 45 minutes, and their centers were still gelatinous. So I stepped away for about .2 seconds, and when I returned, this is what I found:

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I sang a chorus of the word “balls,” along with some other choice words, for a good minute or so. I really had high hopes for this one, guys. I mean, I really expected it to turn out OK— not looking like it had just emerged from the fires of hell.

My aspirational chef is a 50s-housewife-domestic-goddess-meets-liberated-modern-feminist-who-can-cook-for-herself. She wears an apron in an ironically postmodern way, and looks cute wearing it.”Microwaves,” she says, “are for the weak.”

Yet here I was, covered in flour, staring incredulously at the zucchini bread that looked as if I had angrily blow-torched the shit out of it.

There’s a disconnect here.

Luckily, it wasn’t too hard to saw off the charred bits, and though the inside of the bread was a little too dry, it was still light and flavorful.

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It’s a process, folks. A long and arduous process. But this finished product ain’t too shabby.

Tomorrow: dinner! For guests! Stay tuned.

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