Did you know that the Czech Republic is the poppy seed capital of the world, producing close to 25,000 metric tons of the seeds each year? The next closest producers are Turkey, with just over 16,000 metric tons and Spain, with 11,000 metric tons annually (www.wikipedia.com). The poppy seed is derived from the opium poppy and is used whole or ground, or pressed to make poppy seed oil. In this recipe, they are used whole and add a slightly nutty flavor.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup poppy seed
1 1/4 cups milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Powdered sugar, if desired
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Grease bottom only of loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.
Mix all ingredients except powdered sugar in large bowl; beat 30 seconds with spoon.
Pour into pan.
Bake 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes.
Loosen sides of loaf from pan; remove from pan to wire rack.
In case you were wondering, there are no oysters in Oyster Crackers. Instead, they are wheat flour based-crackers, similar to saltines in taste, but with less salt. Said to have originated in the early to mid-1800s in the New England region of the USA, they most likely got their name because they have a shape similar to that of an oyster and were originally served with oyster stew. Today, however, they are usually served with Clam Chowder and other seafood-based soups and stews. For those of us who prefer a little more flavor in our crackers, here is a recipe for Parmesan Oyster Crackers.
2 cloves garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups oyster crackers
1 handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggian
Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
Chop garlic cloves then sprinkle with some salt and smash to make a paste.
Set a large nonstick pan over medium heat.
Add butter, oil and garlic and swirl pan.
Add oyster crackers and chopped flat-leaf parsley and toss to coat.
Spread out on a sheet tray, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with shredded Parmigiano.
Pop into the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and crispy.
Food Mingle Blog Alternatives and Substitutions:
Substitute your favorite grated cheese for the Parmigiano.
Zucchini are a summer squash, treated as a vegetable in the culinary world, but botanically, zucchini are a fruit (a type of berry), as they are the ovary of the zucchini flower. Either way, they have a wonderful nutritional profile:
Calories – approximately 17 calories per 100 grams
Folate – 24 ug per 100 grams
Potassium – 261 mg per 100 grams
Vitamin A – 200 IU per 100 grams
Need a recipe to celebrate National Zucchini Bread Day? No problem – try mine: Zucchini Bread