Comfort Food – Shepard’s Pie and Cranberry Brown Betty

Shepard's Pie
Shepard's Pie
Recipes in this Post

I have been craving comfort food for quite a while.  It’s that time of the year, when you listen to Carl Off’s O’Fortuna, put your feet in warm fuzzy slippers, and want to eat food that will make you feel nice and warm inside.

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic comfort food, and so is Shepard’s Pie.  It combines potatoes,beef, veggies and gravy all in one dish.  Apple Brown Betty is also a classic comfort food, but cranberries are in season, so Cranberry Brown Betty is a delicious alternative.

There is another interesting story here.  My mother, Ruth Louise Burchart Boswell, was born in 1913.  When she went to school, there was something called Home Ec. If you were a girl, they taught you basic cooking skills, how to iron, clean the house, etc.  My mother told me that the final was to make Shepard’s Pie.  She did her best, but she didn’t like it, and the teacher didn’t like it either.  I suspect that she must have used mutton.  I don’t like mutton, either, although I do like spring loin lamb chops.  So, until I went to Ye Old Kings Head in Santa Monica, I never had it because my mother had said it was her most hated food.  When my dinner companion ordered it, it looked good so I tasted it and fell in love.

However, still leery of making it myself, I did not think of making it until tonight.   So, I started looking around the Internet for a good recipe for Shepard’s Pie.  Nothing I saw came close to what Ye Old Kings Head served, and they all called for strange things like mushroom soup or ketchup.  What the heck, I thought, I know what’s supposed to be in it, I’ll throw it together myself.

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“Where did they get chocolate cake from?!?” Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting
Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting at the birthday party

Update for 2018

This Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting was inspired by a comedy bit done by Bill Cosby in 1982. I have loved Bill Cosby all my life, from watching I Spy with my mother, to watching The Cosby’s in the 1980’s.  My father had his 1982 album Himself with the classic bit about giving kids chocolate cake for breakfast.

When it was announced that women had come forward accusing him of drugging them and forcing himself on them, I was really shocked.  It didn’t seem that Cliff Huxtable could do something like that.  But, you never know, these things to happen and just because you are a rich, well-known celebrity doesn’t make you innocent or have the issue go away.  A jury found him guilty and I think it is the right and just thing to do.

With that said, I debated taking this page down or removing the references to him.  But, then, I thought, no, this is genuinely funny stuff. Just because Mr. Cosby is a sexual predator doesn’t mean that his art should suffer, too.

Bill Cosby Himself – 1982

One of the funniest bits of all time is the story of Bill Cosby’s wife finding out that Bill had given the kids chocolate cake for breakfast. Well, if Bill’s wife had tasted the chocolate cake I made yesterday, maybe she would not have had a conniption. If you have never seen or heard that bit, read the transcript of Bill Cosby Gives the Children Chocolate Cake for Breakfast or see the video below. I promise you will laugh until your sides hurt.

The classic comedy routine is the inspiration for Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting. This is one of the moistest cakes you will ever have, and it stays moist, even for a few days.

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Roll Out and Spritz Cookies

Class about to enjoy spritz cookies
The class is ready to enjoy Spritz cookies

Spritz Cookies are easy to make with a cookie press decorated with colored sugars. They are great for a crowd, party, or bake sale.

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Spring is Here! Sunday Morning Cake

Blueberry Muffin Cake
It’s Sunday morning, and my friends are here for fellowship and watching movies. It’s a lazy day, and in Los Angeles, it looks like it’s going to rain so it’s a little cold. What’s the perfect food? Why it’s Judy Rosenberg’s Fresh Blueberry Muffin Breakfast Cake.

This cake is wonderful fresh from the oven, while it’s still hot. I love this with a cup of coffee and friends. You have to make this cake.

In the spring when blueberries first come into season, I buy a box to make blueberry pancakes, which are a favorite of Spane’s on Wednesday mornings when we don’t have to get to school quite so early. Usually, I have blueberries left, and this is what I do with them. It’s well worth the effort.

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