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Strata With French Toast Flavorings and Strawberry Sauce

Serves 8 to 12

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted but not hot
  • 1 loaf (about 1 pound) crusty French bread
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) evaporated milk
  • 9 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sliced strawberries
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon of water

Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, almonds and butter with hands in a medium bowl, pressing together to form large clumps; set aside.

Arrange bread in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish so that it slightly overlaps. Whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour mixture over bread and let stand, weighting the bread so that it absorbs the custard, at least 20 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until golden and set, about 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring berries, sugar, zest and 1/2 cup water to boil in a small Dutch oven or large saucepan. When mixture starts to simmer, whisk in cornstarch mixture. Continue to simmer until mixture thickens to sauce consistency.

Cut casserole into portions and serve with sauce alongside.

Carrot Salad in Lettuce Cups

Serves 8

  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup plain kefir (or buttermilk)
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large head butter lettuce, separated into leaves

Whisk garlic, mustard, kefir and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil to create a thick dressing.

When ready to serve, place carrots and parsley in a medium bowl. Add all but a couple of tablespoons of the dressing; toss to coat. Lightly drizzle lettuce with remaining dressing and toss to coat. Arrange a lettuce leaf or two and a small mound of carrot salad on each plate, and serve.

Pam Anderson, a best-selling cookbook author, writes about food and develops recipes for AARP.

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