Awhile back, I had a huge zucchini that my mom gave me and I didn’t want it to go bad. I looked in every cookbook I own, and all I found for zucchini bread was something that used boxed spice cake mix. Not what I was looking for.
Then I went on Facebook and serendipitously one of my friends had posted a link to this Glazed Lemon Zucchini bread at Lil’ Luna. The dearest husband loves lemon breads, so I thought it looked like a great candidate. Then I read the recipe and realized I had no lemon zest, no buttermilk, and no cake flour.
I have a standard substitution for buttermilk that I use all the time, since I hardly ever keep it on hand. 1 tablespoon vinegar per cup of milk, let it set five minutes or so. It isn’t as thick as buttermilk, but it thickens up a little and has the acid that baking soda recipes need.
Awhile back I needed cake flour for an actual cake, so I knew that all-purpose flour sifted together with some cornstarch would work, and a quick google search refreshed my memory of exactly how much cornstarch. Another google search also revealed that 1/2 tsp. lemon extract would substitute for the lemon zest called for in the recipe.
Then I was in business. The bread turned out really good. Sometimes I think about how the Internet has changed how I cook, and what I cook, and it is pretty amazing. I have quite a few cookbooks (and there are more all the time) but I rely heavily on the Internet for “quick, what can I make with ______” questions, and substitutions, and the mouthwatering descriptions and pictures of food on blogs are often the impetus for me to cook foods I haven’t tried before, especially foods from other countries, much more so than simply reading through recipes in a cookbook.