Nana Lila's Chocolate Cake

Yeah, yeah, it's the old Tareyton cigarette slogan, but it's mine too when it comes to chocolate cake. So maybe I don't have a black eye like the Tareyton cowboy, but I must have these and only these ingredients to bake this cake. It's been in the family for generations and, as you can tell by my seventh grade printing and handwriting, it's one of the first things my Nana Lila taught me how to make. I even left the apostrophe off of Grandmother's. How do you like that? Don't tell any of my first graders, should you happen to know them! Anyway, without further ado, I'm going to share:

Grandmother's Chocolate Cake


1/2 cup Challenge unsalted butter

1 and 1/4 cup C&H Golden Brown Sugar

2 large eggs

3 oz. unsweetened Baker's chocolate melted and cooled

2 cups Swan's Down Enriched Bleached Cake Flour, sifted 3 times

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon high quality vanilla

1 cup whole milk



1/2 cup Challenge unsalted butter

3 cups C&H Powdered sugar, sifted once

4 oz. Baker's unsweetened chocolate, melted

1/4 cup hot coffee



Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and flour two 8" round cake pans or 1  9"x 13" oblong pan.

Cream butter and sugar until smooth.

Add eggs and chocolate. Mix.

Add vanilla.

Add baking soda to sifted flour.

Add flour and milk alternately. Start with flour, end with flour.

Batter will be very smooth.

Pour into prepared pan(s).

Bake for 25 minutes for round and 35 for oblong pans or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.




Cream butter and sugar.

Add hot coffee and melted chocolate.

Frost top of bottom layer then sides, then top if making a layer cake.


Ever since I can remember, I have been making this delectable treat for Passover. Those who know me well know that I don't keep kosher, hell I am a bacon afficianado for goodness sake! However, I do enjoy an excellent piece of matzah, though it must be covered with butter, brown sugar, and semi-sweet chocolate...and lots of it. I promise, you will be the talk of the town if you serve this at your own seder or bring it to someone else's. So without further ado, may I present...

Chocolate Covered Toffee MatzahHeart

(Can be doubled or tripled)


4 sheets matzah (can use salted as well)

1 cup butter (unsalted if using salted matzah)

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips


Heat oven to 250.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Lay sheets of matzah on top of parchment.

Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Remove from heat.

Drizzle over matzah.

Bake 10-15 minutes.

Remove from oven.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over. (1/4 cup on each piece of matzah)

Return to oven for about 3 minutes, until chocolate begins to melt.

With a metal spatula spread chocolate to edges of matzah.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours uncovered.

Break into pieces.

This will keep 2 days at room temperature.

It is also delicious frozen!

Golden Globe Steak Sandwiches


I know, I know, two recipes in one day. Well we are paying for a wedding in July you know. Don't worry, the restaurant reviews are coming tomorrow. We've been all over town this weekend. I mean I do have to keep up my Yelp 2014 Elite badge after all don't I? But a girl's gotta feed her family too, especially when the Golden Globes start at 5pm on a Sunday night! So here is my version of a pretty darn good steak sammie!


2 pounds New York Steak sliced super thin


Just tell the nice butchers at Gelson's that you want to make sandwiches and they will do all the slicing for you. I love those guys. They are always happy to help. I think that Albertson's does it too now.


1 sweet onion sliced

1 stick salted butter

sea salt

Montreal seasoning

1/2 pound sliced provolone cheese

1 wedge gorgonzola cheese

6 French rolls, split, buttered and toasted

3 tablespoons olive oil


Slice onion and saute for about ten minutes in 1/2 stick of butter.

Use remaining butter to spread on rolls.

Season each sliced piece of steak with salt and Montreal seasoning.

Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet until hot but not smoking.

Add steak slices. Cook about two minutes on each side.

Melt cheese (whatever kind you prefer) on buttered toasted bread.

Add steak.

Cut in half.


Serve with garlic fries from Trader Joe's. Sure, it's a dirty little secret, but they are really delicious! Buy two bags because they always sell out!




My Famous Caesar Salad & Garlic CroutonsHeart



Everyone loves this salad and I promise you will too. One can never have enough garlic, parmesan, or buttery garlic croutons. Don't say I didn't warn you! Oh, just an FYI in my photos I used Just Croutons but I usually make them! Yeah, I do!


Croutons: (You can make one day before and keep in an airtight container)


1 loaf good quality sourdough bread sliced, (crusts removed, but save 'em) into 1" pieces

1 stick excellent quality salted butter (I use Kerrygold)

3 cloves garlic, minced


Melt butter in a saucepan.

Add garlic.

Saute , but do not let garlic turn brown.

Add bread cubes and toss just until covered in butter-garlic mixture.

Bake at 375 on a foil-covered cookie sheet degrees for about 20 minutes or until light brown.

Cool and let crisp.



6 cloves organic garlic, peeled

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

7 anchovy filets

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon Himilayan Pink Sea salt

2 cups freshly grated Parmigiano-Regiano


In a food processor crush garlic.

Add anchovies.

Add mustard, and lemon juice.

Add olive oil and vinegar. Process for about one minute.

Add salt and pepper.

Add one cup of cheese and process for 30 seconds or until cheese combines and dressing slightly "bubbles."

Pour dressing into a small bowl and cover. Do not refrigerate.


For salad: Use two heads of organic romaine. The romaine at Bristol Farms has excellent flavor and crispiness, but any will do. Toss the lettuce with some fresh cherry tomatoes, extra anchovies, if you like, the remaining cheese, and the croutons. Remember the crusts you cut off? Dip them in any extra dressing for a savory delight! This will serve about 6.

Karen's Killer Mac & CheeseHeart

When it comes to Mac & Cheese, I take this dish very seriously. There's Mac & Cheese, then there's Killer Mac & Cheese. Mine is of the second variety. It is made with love and will delight eaters of all ages. This dish will be the hit of any holiday party. Don't say I didn't warn you though; it's for serious cheese lovers only!

1 package macaroni shells, cooked as per directions on package, drained

2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup Vermont white cheddar, grated

1 cup Mexican Blend cheese, grated

1/2 cup fresh Reggiano Parmesan cheese grated

2 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, Italian style

1 1/2 t. garlic salt

1 t. pepper

1  1/2 sticks salted butter

Pre-heat oven to 375.

Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish (You can use Pam)

Combine all cheeses in a bowl.

Mix cooked macaroni shells with 1/2 stick butter, salt and pepper.

Using half the macaroni shells, layer on the bottom of the dish.

Add half of the cheese mixture.

Add another layer of macaroni.

Add remaining cheese on top.

Cut one stick of butter into small cubes.

Dot the casserole with butter.

Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

Pour milk so that it comes up on the edges (about 3/4 of the way)

Bake for 1 hour or until bubbly and golden brown.

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