Meal Kit Review: Plated’s Seared Steak with Goat Cheese Potatoes and Mushroom–White Wine Sauce

Rating 7/10

This was another winning dish by Plated. It’s getting marked down because while the potatoes and mushrooms were outstanding, the beef was a little tough and not particular flavorful. Top sirloin, IMHO, is a horrible cut and I wish Plated used ranch steak or flat iron steaks.

The potatoes, roasted in olive oil and then flavor with a mixture of goat cheese, butter and chives, were delicious. So were the mushrooms, which were sauteed on the beef juices and then enhanced with white wine, Dijon mustard and butter. I’m amazed that this recipe only had 660 calories (far less than the other kits I got this week).

I love that, unlike other meal kit services, Plated sends you butter rather than expecting you to have some at hand. And I loved that the Dijon mustard they sent was Grey Poupon. Most of the produce they sent was good and fresh, but the potatoes – which were larger than those pictured and therefore had to be sliced rather than halved – had some black areas in them which I had to cut around.

I paid a tad over $13 for this kit, with a welcome back promo, or about $7.65 per person. It was worth it.

Meal Kit Review: Gobble’s Seared Flat Iron Steak with Baby Carrots & Harissa Green Lentils


Rating: 8/10

Gobble distinguishes itself from other meal kit companies by offering meal kits that can be put together in just 15 minutes.  They do this by including some pre-prepared ingredients and having simpler meals than their competitors.

This meal kit for Seared Flat Iron Steak with Baby Carrots & Harissa Green Lentils consisted of just four ingredients: beef, carrots, pre-cooked lentils and their version of harissa sauce.  The beef was supposed to be flat iron steaks.  Instead, I got a bunch of beef slices labeled flatiron.  The quality of the meat was quite good and the beef was very tasty, however.  The small, multi-color carrots were very cute but ultimately they just tasted like carrots.  The lentils just needed to be warmed up in the microwave and then mixed with the harissa sauce.  They were very good.  The meal was a bit unbalanced, however.  There were plenty of lentils and carrots but not enough beef – perhaps this was because I was sent the wrong package.

Preparation seemed a little over complicated.  The beef had to be seared on both sides, then the carrots had to be added to the pan and the beef transferred on top of them, then the whole pan had to be put in the oven for 2-3 minutes, then the beef removed and the carrots cooked for some more time on the stove top with some water.  But having to use the oven meant pre-heating it, which to me added needless time and made it a waste of gas.  Now, this probably would have been a simpler process if I had two steaks rather than a bunch of slices – which cooled down quickly while I was finishing the carrots.

Still, the whole process was fairly quick – though probably longer than 15 minutes, but I’m a slow cook.

I sent Gobble’s customer service a picture of the meat and they apologized and gave me a $15 credit, which I got to use as I forgot to cancel/suspend the service for the following weeks.

All in all, I was very pleased with this meal, in particular the quality of the beef.


Saleh Smokehouse – Review

The Everett & Jones restaurant in Hayward has become more and more erratic in their opening hours, so we are looking for a new BBQ joint to call our own.  Last week we gave Saleh Smokehouse a try.  It gets a B+, in my book.

We ordered a plate of links, another of beef, and another of beef and ribs.  Alas, instead of ribs the last plate had links and we didn’t realize it until we came home.  We’re going to have to go back and try the ribs.

I was personally happy with both the beef and the links.  The beef was tender, juicy enough and not overly fatty.  The links were coarse, gritty and homemade.  My husband wasn’t as happy with the links, however, finding them too dry and inferior to E&J’s.  He also didn’t think the BBQ sauce was as great, but I actually thought it was pretty similar to E&J’s.  He was reasonably happy with the baked beans and potato salad.

Saleh Smokehouse is located inside a mini-market in East Oakland.   In addition to barbecue they sell fried chicken and fish & chips, which we didn’t try.  We did pick up a couple of slices of homemade cakes.  I thought the German chocolate cake one was fine, but it needed more coconut flavor in the frosting.  On the plus side, it wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet.

I anticipate we’ll be back

Saleh Smokehouse
679 98th Ave
Oakland, CA
(510) 553-9191
M-Sa 8 AM – 9 PM, Su 8 AM – 7 PM

Marga’s Restaurant Reviews

Chicken Luisita – Recipe

I got some fresh tarragon to make Lobster Thermidor and I wanted to use what was left before it went bad.  So I went looking for an easy recipe that had ingredients I had at home.  I completely lucked out with Peter Micheli’s Chicken Louisa at   I didn’t have tomatoes, though, so I substituted with tomato puree.  I also used leftover rose champagne instead of wine.  For that reason, I’m changing the name – slightly :-).

This recipe can be done in much less than an hour. I served it with plain couscous, but it was also great with homemade white bread.

Chicken Luisita

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp.  olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 15 oz can tomato puree
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. chicken stock base
Pat chicken dry.  Season with salt and pepper.
Heat oil and butter together in a frying pan over moderately high heat.  Brown chicken on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove chicken and keep warm in a separate plate.
Add shallot and cook for one minute.  Deglaze with the wine and cook until wine is reduced by half. Add the cream, tomato puree, tarragon and chicken base.  Mix, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.  Cook for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Return chicken to the pot, together with any juices on the plate.  Cook until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Marga’s Favorite Recipes

Betty Crocker Warm Delights – Review

Betty Crocker Warm Delights are individual-sized cakes, cookies and brownies that you prepare at home in your microwave.  The bowls come with a small package of cake mixture, to which you add water.  Then you put it in the microwave for about a minute, and top it with ready-made fudge from a packet included in the kit.  You have a warm dessert in 2 or 3 minutes.  Really, it couldn’t be simpler or faster.

These warm delights bowls taste much, much better than they have any right to.  Indeed, they taste just as good – it not better – than most similar desserts you can get at a restaurant or even make yourself.  Because you make the cake right before you eat it, it’s moist and airy.  The fudge adds intensiveness and sweetness.  They are even better with vanilla ice cream on top.  Of course, I’m sure they are terribly bad for you and I don’t even want to look at the ingredients, but as a quick dessert to hit your sweet tooth they can’t be beat.

Warm Delights came in two sizes, a regular bowl (pictured) and “minis”, bowls about half the size.  A mini is definitely large enough as a dessert.  They retail for about $2 (for either a large bowl or two minis), but I get them at Grocery Outlet (when available) for 50-cents each.

Strawberry Ice cream

Yesterday I made some strawberry ice cream from the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream book, and it was amazingly delicious. I’m not really a fan of strawberry ice cream, but this one was out of this world. I’m sure part of the reason was that I used fresh strawberries bought that same day at the farmers’ market. Definitely use fresh strawberries if you can.
Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled & sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup milk
    In a small bowl, mix the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.
    Mash the strawberries to a puree and set aside.
    In a medium-size bowl whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar, a little at the time, until fully blended. Add the cream and milk and whisk to blend.
    Stir the strawberries into the cream.
    Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.

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    Trader Joe’s recalls food for listeria

    The Food service and Inspection Service has recalled several ready-to-eat meat and poultry products sold at Trader Joe’s (under its marks). Listeria was found at the processing plant. Listeria is a bacteria that causes listeriosis, normal adults are not at much risk for it, but pregnant women are 20 times more likely to develop it. It can cause miscarriage, pre-term labor, stillbirth and serious health problems for newborns. Concerns about listeriosis is why pregnant women stay away from sushi, soft cheeses and deli meats. Apparently, they should also stay away from TJ’s ready-to-eat foods.
    Here is the recall notice:
    Recall Notification Report 044-2005