Cook's Country Zucchini Bread

Makes one 9-inch loaf

1 pound zucchini
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Generously coat 9 by 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

2. Cut large zucchini in half length-wise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon before shredding. (Zucchini is more than 95% water, so its no wonder that zucchini bread is notoriously soggy.) This technique rids the zucchini of much of its moisture and concentrates the flavor at the same time: Using the coarse holes on a box grater, grate the zucchini, peel and all. Place the grated zucchini in a clean dish towel and wring out as much liquid as possible.

3. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in large bowl. Whisk sugar, yogust, eggs, lemon juice, and butter in bowl until combined. 

4. Gently fold in yogurt mixture and zucchini into flour mixture suing spatula until just combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

5. Bake until golden brown and skewer inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45-55 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn out into wire rack to cool for at least 1 hour. (Bread can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature for 3 days.)

Fruity Zucchini Bread:
Stir in 3/4 cup golden raisins or chopped dried apricots into batter along with zucchini.

Nutty Zucchini Bread:
Stir 1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds and 1/2 cup chopped pistachios into batter along with zucchini.