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How much meat in a bone-in cuts?

I just deboned a 4 lb “semi-boneless” leg of lamb from Safeway supermarkets, and I got about 2.5 lbs of meat out of it.

I don’t know why I never before bothered to note how much meat I get from bone-in and non-trimmed cuts, but I will going on, mostly for my own reference. In this case, the “semi boneless” description was a complete lie, the cut had a full bone (which my dog is now enjoying).

Santos Spices Now Delivers!

I found out today that Santos Spices Market now has delivery and pick up. Santos is an amazing store, with a huge variety of Indian spices as well as legumes, flours, sauces and frozen products. Moreover, they seem to have fixed up the store in the last year and it feels less crowded than before. I definitely like going there in person, though I avoided shopping during the pandemic.

Still, my major problem with Santos is that they have so much stuff that it’s sometimes difficult to find what I want. For example, today I went looking for Kashmiri pepper and I couldn’t find it. It was there, but where? Yes, employees are very helpful and you can ask them, but I hate bothering people. Ordering online will make this much, much easier. Plus I won’t have to remember (or write down) the alternative names for the products I want, as I can just look them up as I go.

I still haven’t used this feature but I will soon!

Jarritos All Flavors Review

Jarritos is a popular brand of Mexican soda that has been in available in the US (or at least California) for quite a few years. Lately, they seem to be available at every store that sells sodas, from 7-11 to major supermarkets, but most stores only carry a few flavors. They come in glass bottles with 12.5 fl oz 1.5 liter plastic bottles, and they cost between $1-$2 at most stores. Recently, I was able to find a 12-pack at Grocery Outlet that features a bottle for each of its dozen flavors for $9, and decided to give them all a try. Here are my notes.

In general, while Jarritos are made with sugar instead of corn syrup they tend to be less sweet than American sodas. This sometimes gives them a watery finish. They tend to be subtly carbonated, a bit less than American sodas – or so it feels.

Mxcn Cola: it has a citrusy, sweet flavor that reminds me of a coke on ice with a slice or two of lemon that has gone a bit flat. I like it, though I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.

Fruit Punch: I was surprised at how much I liked this, given that I’m not a fan of fruit punch. It had a fruity flavor but wasn’t too sweet or too citrusy. It was an overall good summer drink.

Pineapple: it didn’t taste very much of pineapple or anything else, but it was pleasant, fruity and not too sweet. I’m not sure there is a particular reason to seek it out, but it’s not something I would mind drinking.

Watermelon: my daughter thinks this tastes exactly like a watermelon jolly rancher. Personally, I only tasted the watermelon in the after taste, but I found the soda too sweet and somewhat reminiscent of cold syrup. I wouldn’t drink it again.

Mango: I’m not a huge fan of mango, having overdosed on it a summer over thirty years ago, but this soda does taste like mango, and my daughter who likes mango, likes it.

Mandarin: This is one of the flavors I regularly buy. It has an aftertaste of artificial tangerine which I like, and it’s definitely not very sweet. It doesn’t resemble orange soda at all.

Strawberry: I was apprehensive about trying this flavor because, while I’ve never tried strawberry soda before, I absolutely hate strawberry-scented sparkling water. Fortunately, this one wasn’t offensive. It doesn’t taste at all like strawberries, not even strawberries’ second cousins, but it has a generic fruity flavor and it’s not too sweet or citrusy. Basically, it’s pretty close to the fruit punch flavor.

Lime: Now I understand why major soda companies have gone with lemon-lime as a flavor. The lime flavor alone lacked the citrusy spark you want in a lemon-lime soda, and thus felt pretty flat. It also didn’t have the sweet, inviting flavor of limeade. All in all, I wouldn’t seek it out.

Guava: This was one of my favorite flavors. I love guava juice, but I find it too sweet. This soda has some guava flavor, but it’s far less sweet. Plus I’m a fan of carbonation. My daughter couldn’t taste the guava at all, however. Still, I’d buy it.

Grapefruit: This is one of my favorite flavors which I have bought before often. It is pretty similar to other grapefruit sodas but less sweet and with a weaker finish. Good for thirst.

Jamaica: They translated the name of all other flavors, so I’m not sure why they didn’t do it with this one. In any case, this is a hibiscus flavored soda. I thought it was pretty good. It definitely tasted of hibiscus, particularly in the finish. I did find it a bit too sweet for me, so I wouldn’t be drinking it if I was too thirsty.

Tamarind: I had bought a large bottle of this Jarrito flavor before and no one in the house had liked it. I ended up pouring most of it down the drain. So I was apprehensive about trying it again. But this time, I rather liked it. It has a subtle taste of tamarind when you take a sip, and then a dry finish that sort of reminded me of guarana soda – but less sweet. I don’t think I’d buy a big bottle again, but it’s pleasant enough to drink.

Morning Coffee and Sour Cream & Onion Potato Ships Don’t Mix Well

just saying

Vegan Pesto

This is very good recipe for pesto, that tastes just like a good non-vegan pesto. I made it for my daughter using the basil she herself grows. It makes about 1/3 cup (I know, it doesn’t seem possible, but sometimes the sum is lesser than the factors).


  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil


Put all ingredients, save for the olive oil, in the bowl of a food processor or blender and process into a paste. Gradually add the olive oil and blend in.

Adapated from Monica’s recipe at The Hidden Veggies

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.

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.