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CSA Cookoff: Beer Bread, Beer Salad Dressing, and Beer


THE CHALLENGE
My last CSA installment was all about salad greens and zucchini. Don’t get me wrong: I love both. But I found myself scratching my head, trying to calculate how many salads I could eat in one week. And where, exactly, would zucchini fit into this salad-centric picture? Then it hit me: zucchini bread. But not just any zucchini bread. BEER zucchini bread. And that got me thinking: If beer could act like yeast in bread, maybe it could take the place of other ingredients elsewhere—of vinegar, say, in salad dressing. And the rest is history.

THE SOLUTION
Beer three ways: Cheddar zucchini beer bread; a salad of radicchio, red leaf lettuce, green leaf lettuce, and cucumbers from the farm share, topped with Clementine slices and walnuts that I had on hand and dressed with a beer vinaigrette; and a beer to chase it all down. For the salad dressing, I used this orange and ale vinaigrette recipe from Food & Wine as a jumping-off point; for the bread, I used this recipe from the supermarket chain HEB. Details below.

FOR THE SALAD DRESSING
>> 3 oz IPA (a quarter-bottle of an India Pale Ale; I used the local-to-me Cisco Brewers’ Indie Pale Ale)
>> 1 T minced shallot (also from the week’s farm share: hooray!)
>> zest and juice of one Clementine (the recipe called for orange zest, but since I didn’t have oranges on hand, I used what I did—and because Clementines don’t zest easily, I added the juice for good measure)
>> 2 T mustard (I had Dijon and honey varieties in the fridge and used a little of both)
>> 4 T extravirgin olive oil
>> salt and pepper to taste

FOR THE BREAD
>> 3 ½ c all-purpose flour
>> 3 ½ t baking powder
>> 3 ½ t salt
>> 2 large brown eggs
>> 12 oz of beer (that’s one bottle; I used more of the Cisco)
>> 1 large zucchini, grated
>> 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
>> ¾ c grated Cheddar (I used Robinson Farm’s Barndance, which I picked up at my local farmers market)

Heat the oven to 400. Grease a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and beer, then fold in the zucchini, scallions, and cheese. Fold the zucchini mixture into the dry mixture. Pour into the loaf pan. I baked this for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted into the loaf came out fairly clean. And don’t forget to pop open a local IPA of your choosing for yourself!

STILL HUNGRY? Browse the CSA Cookoff recipe file.

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