The menu was awesome.
I made a French Toast Bread Pudding, which I've made before. It is really easy, and amazingly good. Try it! After the picture, I copied down the recipe that Christine Lavin personally handed to me during one of her concerts. (She handed copies to everyone in the audience; I'm not that special. Actually, though, I did get to go up on stage and sing a song with her...) If you don't know Christine Lavin, certainly go and check her out here! My comments are in green.
"This recipe came from a lovely woman in the audience at my concert in Dallas, Texas. I never got her name -- but thank you, whoever you are!
Takes only 15 minutes to prepare the night before (I do it that morning about 1 hour before)
- Challah (or brioche or french bread or regular white) (No!No!NO! I say that it must be challah.)
- 7 Eggs (or 8 -- you just can't mess up this recipe!)
- 2 1/2 cups 2% milk (or regular milk if you are skinny) (Or real raw milk, if you are smart!)
- 1/2 cup sugar (No...that just isn't right. Use Maple Syrup! between 1/4 and 1/2 cup, depending on how gluttonous you are feeling!)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla (the good stuff from Madagascar) (or the cheap stuff if you are cheap. I use a lot of it, up to 2 tablespoons, it is really good, but Rebecca doesn't like it. I also think that you could use 2 teaspoons of dark rum and it would be frickin' excellent!)
- 1/4 teaspoon or so of fresh ground nutmeg (don't use the powdered stuff). you can add raisins, too! and orange zest! (Yay on the zest, Nay on the raisins; I add cinnamon and sometimes home made dried apples minced small!)
Mix together the next 4 ingredients (eggs, milk, sugar (Maple Syrup!) and vanilla) with a wire whisk or hand mixer on low and pour over the ripped up bread. Sprinkle fresh ground nutmeg on the tops of both pans (I just mix it into the egg mixture - one less step and gets nutmeg taste into the whole darn thing!) Take a spatula and smush the bread down in the egg mixture so it gets good and soaked. Then wrap both pans in aluminum foil and put it in the fridge. Go to bed (or in my case, frantically get the rest of the breakfast together before the runners hit their halfway mark!) Sweet Dreams! (or funky mornings!)
The next day (or about an hour later), put the pans in a COLD oven (kids can help do this since the oven isn't hot yet.) (Andy can too.) Turn it on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for 30 minutes. Take the foil OFF and continue baking for 35 minutes more (or until the runners can't wait anymore, whichever comes first). It will puff up and be 'set'. If it's wiggly it needs a little more time. The puffing up is the key. Last night I made 4 pans and had to do it an extra 15 minutes, so it depends on your oven.
Serve with maple syrup (of course). It's delicious, and so easy since you can do it the night before. Serve hot, warm or cold.
Christine Lavin (and FolkFoods!)
And the festive meal...