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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6 Responses to Thanksgiving Things

  1. Susan/DC says:

    I’m definitely thankful for Rufus Sewell. He’s both a treat for the eyes and plays such interesting roles (“Cold Comfort Farm”, for example). Wishing everyone easy travels (for those who plan to celebrate the holiday away from home), good food, and great company.

  2. Susan, did you see him in the new “Zen” series on Masterpiece Mystery? Rome AND Rufus–it was great 🙂

  3. Oh, and the Purcell premier was on this day in 1683…forgot to put that in the post 🙂

  4. Diane Gaston says:

    I loved your YouTube inclusions! And the recipe, which I will never make because I never fuss that much. And after cooking a turkey (which I don’t have to do this year), I definitely wouldn’t fuss so much.

    But whoever makes that French Bread Casserole, would you please invite me to your house?

  5. Isn’t today Saint Cecilia’s Day, the patron saint of music?

    The bread casserole is a rather sophisticated grown up version of the bread and butter pudding from my childhood, a recipe created to use up old bread but delicious!

    I loved Rufus Sewell in Zen. Brilliant series! And he was terrific in Cold Comfort Farm too. I’ve liked him in just about every role I’ve seen. Has anyone seen him as Charles II in a BBC series?–I don’t think it ever got here. I wouldn’t have thought he was tall enough. Maybe he spent the entire time on camera standing on a box, but Charles would have spent quite a lot of time horizontal.

  6. bettielee says:

    I do not cook. But I eat. I eat a lot.I look forward to the leftovers.

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