Happy Lughnasa—the first day of August! Yes, I know I’m a wee early, my friends. Yet it’s Friday Feast here in the Tavern, so I thought to kick-off the Celtic celebrations today.
Lughnasa is Irish Gaelic and means “the násad” (games or assembly) of the Celtic hero, Lugh. This day was also considered the first day of harvest. Lughnasa is also called Lammas Day, from the Anglo-Saxon hlaef-mass, meaning "loafmass." In the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 921 A.D., it states as "the feast of first fruits." It marked the first harvest when the grain was gathered, ground, and baked into a loaf. If you are able, spend some time outdoors and notice the shifting of the sun. In the Celtic wheel of the year, Lughnasa marks the first day of autumn.
Though the temperature will be near 100 degrees in my part of the country today, I can long for the cool autumn breezes that will follow in the coming months.
Since I’ve spoken about grains and the first harvest, I wanted to share this delicious Zucchini Bread with everyone. It’s great anytime of the day, especially warm from the oven.
2 cups grated fresh zucchini (approx. 1 medium zucchini)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons salted butter, melted
½ cup chopped pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, or dark chocolate chips. (Or mix up a combination of all)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Place grated zucchini in a colander over a bowl to drain the excess liquid.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg into a bowl and whisk. Set aside.
Whisk in another large bowl, the sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Fold in the drained grated zucchini and melted butter.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time until blended. Fold in any optional add-ins (nuts, dried fruit, or dark chocolate) and place in prepared pan.
Bake for 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.