Thanksgiving Things

I hope everyone is ready for the Thanksgiving holiday this week! I–well, I am not, but then the holidays always have a way of sneaking up on me. I am going to the shops today to stock up on groceries and do a little preliminary Christmas shopping, and then will spend the rest of the week eating turkey leftovers and arguing with my family (in a fun way of course, LOL!).

In the meantime, what went on in history on November 22? Lots of good things, it turns out:

Henry Purcell (one of my favorite composers) had a premier in London, of a piece called “Welcome to all the pleasures” (apropos for the holidays!)

Benjamin Britten was born in 1913

Man of La Mancha had its premier in 1965

And one of my favorite authors, George Eliot, was born in 1819. Let’s take the opportunity to look at Rufus Sewell, one reason to really be thankful this year!

And if you have company the day after Thanksgiving and they are still hungry, my friend swears by this French bread casserole recipe from Paula Deen:

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
  • Butter, for pan
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Raspberry Syrup, recipe follows

Directions

Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with Raspberry Syrup.

Praline Topping:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread over bread as directed above.

Raspberry Syrup:

1 cup raspberry preserves

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur (recommended: Framboise)

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until warm and thinned out like syrup.

How is your holiday week going? Heard any good music or made any good recipes??

About Amanda McCabe/Laurel McKee

Writer (as Amanda McCabe, Laurel McKee, Amanda Carmack), history geek, yoga enthusiast, pet owner!
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