• 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence, chopped roughly (you can also use only rosemary if you need to substitute)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 yellow squash, grated

The fine folks at Food Network team up with food and garden bloggers like me to host Summer Fest 2012, an exciting season-long garden party! Shared each week are our favorite recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. This week, we are exploring a very versatile and delicious plant, one of the Three Sisters in Native American cooking — squash. At the end of this post you will find creative recipes like Diane’s Summer Squash Chips from Napa Farmhouse 1885 to Zucchini Pancakes With Minty Dill Crème Fraiche by Chez Us. For me, connecting with the folks at Food Network and these wonderful bloggers each week is kind of like Christmas? What did we all contribute this week?What will I make first?

An abundance of squash

There’s a reason why Garrison Keillor from my favorite radio show The Prairie Home Companion warns everyone to lock their car doors at church this time of year. If you do not, you are bound to find a very large bag of squash on your front seat each week!

The Act of Giving

I was so excited when my dear Amanda gave me a lovely green loaf pan for Mother’s Day. I love loaf pans. I love bread — breads of all kinds. Whether sweet, savory, yeast, flat, fruit, unleavened — you name it — if it has the word “bread” in its’ title, I love it! In fact, I do not remember a bread I didn’t like.

This was not just any bread pan however. This pan had a beautiful inscription which said, “Taste and see the Lord is good!

Now isn’t that just the prettiest pan? Oh, it just made me smile when I opened her gift! Being one of my favorite verses, this verse can be found in various areas of our home like in the lovely tapestry that hangs on one of our keeping room walls:

Isn’t that pretty? My parents purchased this tapestry for me a few years ago while visiting us in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina. I rarely purchase things I like at full price. I typically wait for things to go on sale. It’s my way of exercising patience and self-control. 

My parents are very generous and enjoy gift-giving.

Amanda also knows just what kinds of things I like. She knows the joy cooking, baking, eating and feeding others brings me. Amanda will often purchase gifts for me that I would not typically purchase for myself, but would love to own and use. Aren’t those always the most thoughtful gifts? It can sometimes be difficult to shop for others. We know what we like, but to purchase a gift that someone else would really love takes investment. It takes thought. You really have to know the person. Amanda has invested hours of her time with me in the kitchen. Our time together in the heart of our home means so very much to me. I can only hope it brings her as much joy as it does me.

The Inspiration for my Orange Summer Squash Bread

I had been wanting to use this beautiful loaf pan for something special. Being a part of the FN Dish Summer and Fall Fests has been so exciting! Since squash is the featured ingredient in the FN Dish Summer Fest link party this week, and I had zucchini and yellow squash in the frig, I knew just how I would use this loaf pan as the inspiration for my post!  I have made several types of zucchini bread, but have never used yellow squash in a bread before. Feeling adventurous, I decided to give it a whirl! The colors of the batter were so very pretty. Funny how they also matched the bread pan as well. With specks of green, yellow and orange, I knew this was going to be a most excellent bread.

Of course the aroma was a clear indicator as well. Fifty minutes never seemed so long…and then waiting for it to cool completely. Patience sure is a virtue!

Once the bread cooled completely, I removed it easily from the pretty bread pan. Oh, the colors and the flavor! The citrus flavors of the orange, the moistness lent from the summer squash and the addition of a little Herbs of Provence made this the most delicious sweet bread I think I’ve ever eaten. I restrained myself from adding an excessive amount of sugar because I really wanted each ingredient to shine… and shine they did!

How did I make this bread? I’m elated you asked!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray your bread pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray or a tablespoon of softened butter.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and herbs.

In another bowl mix together eggs, butter, olive oil, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and juice. Add grated zucchini and squash.

Add dry mixture to your wet and blend until just combined. Try not to overwork your batter so your final product is nice and tender.

Pour your batter into your prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Each oven is different, each size of the pan matters and so after about 30 minuets begin checking the doneness of your bread. If choosing to make muffins (which would be fabulous) be sure to check after 15 minutes. Muffins bake up in no time!

Once your bread has baked throughout, remove your pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, remove from your pan and slice using a serrated knife. All that’s left to do is make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy!

Act of Giving

  • Invite a friend over to enjoy this delicious Orange Summer Squash Bread with you!
  • Double the recipe so you can wrap one up to share.

Here are some of the other posts featuring summer squash recipes that our family has enjoyed:

Sauteed Summer Squash

Butternut Squash Apple Soup (fall, but one of our favorites!

The Land of Summer Squash Plenty

Be sure to check out the following recipes from all my friends participating in this year’s Summer Fest!

Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Quick and Easy Sesame Summer Squash Stir-Fry
Cooking With Elise: Orange Summer Squash Bread
Feed Me Phoebe: Summer Squash and Cornmeal Cakes With Tarragon
Chez Us: Zucchini Pancakes With Minty Dill Crème Fraiche
And Love It, Too: Peter Pan Squash Spiced Oven Fries
Made By Michelle: Pattypan Squash and Tomato Frittata
Cooking Channel: Our  Top 5 Favorite Squash Recipes
Daily*Dishin: Summer Squash Confetti Salad
Delicious Lean: Summer Squash Ribbons With Feta and Pine Nuts
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Summer Squash Chips
Ingredients, Inc.: Summer Squash and Kale Sauté
Thursday Night Dinner: Summer Squash Medley
Sweet Life Bake: Zucchini Fried With Tequila-Spiked Avocado Dip
Dixie Chik Cooks: Fried Summer Squash Parmesan Sliders
Healthy Eats: Summer Squash Any Way You Slice It
FN Dish: Cheesy Summer Squash