I have been thinking a lot about this sentence: You spend the first half of your life running away from home and the second half trying to get back to home. I’ve been thinking about it because of my propensity to run away from home every summer. But I have a slightly different take on it: I think that the running from home is also a running towards something that brings home into sharper focus.
Going to Glacier every summer has become a ritual. I go there to get back to me at my best, to shed some of the things that burden all of us in life – our fears, our hurts, our anxieties. And I go there to focus, very simply, on the daily act of walking, of observing wilderness at its best, of challenging myself in the most straightforward of ways: can I make it up that 2500 foot climb with a backpack on? God damn it, I can.
I go there to be inspired, to be filled up, to meet interesting and colorful folks, to see grizzly bears and fragile melting glaciers, to hear a loon on a lake at dusk, to not think about food much except in terms of how I can be sated, to be reminded of how unbelievably huge wilderness can be, and how lucky I am to witness it, and walk in it, and be a part of it.
Coming home, I didn’t think that I missed anything yet. But that first night back, I surprised myself: the cool, marine breeze coming through the window was welcome, a thing that I had forgotten I enjoyed. San Francisco’s bright, foggy light – so much a love/hate relationship with me – caught me off guard with its loveliness. Point is, there are comforts in home that are easy to forget when in a place as breathtakingly all-consuming as Glacier. Being pleasantly surprised by how nice those comforts feel on returning is even better.
And these Zucchini Bread Bites, from Sara and Hugh’s stunning, inspired new cookbook (it arrived an hour before I left on my trip – fortuitous timing!) are exactly the kind of cozy comfort I want to return home to, here on the cusp of fall, with summer produce still going strong. Zucchini bread takes me right back to my childhood. And these bring me there too, but with a twist: there is a richness with the addition of cocoa powder, and the quinoa flakes and oat flour are wholesome whole grain goodness at its best. Happy homecoming.
(PS: The title of this post is from a song by Akron/Family.)
ZUCCHINI BREAD BITES
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen
1 large egg
1/2 cup maple syrup (I subbed honey here)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soday
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons nonalkalized cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons turbinado sugar
3/4 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup chopped, lightly toasted walnuts
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, maple syrup, olive oil and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the quinoa flakes, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and 1/4 cup of the turbinado sugar.
Squeeze any excess water from the shredded zucchini with your hands (or a cheesecloth), and stir into the wet ingredients. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to incorporate. Add the walnuts. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or use a mini-muffin pan, as I did). Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out one heaping tablespoon of dough, and roll into a ball if using a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining turbinado sugar.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges are browned and the centers have a soft resistance. Allow to cool before serving (though they are incredible warm.)
Store in an airtight container.