French dip sandwiches. It’s what’s for dinner. And french fries hate ovens.

Last night, I made the following menu for my family:

  • French dip sandwiches with au jus
  • Thin cut french fries (homemade, thank you)
  • Cucumber & onion in lemon vinaigrette over lettuce (i.e., salad)

This dinner was sponsored by my bestie’s deli tray she sent home with us on Saturday after her daughter’s birthday party. She’s a vegetarian and her boyfriend is dieting, so it was a pretty sure thing that a meat tray meant for 35 guests to eat from was not going to find a stomach-acid-bathed home any time soon. Thus, we happily inherited it. Roast beef, chicken, turkey, American cheese, and provolone slices? Yes, please!

frenchdip_adjustedThe actual French dip sandwiches were pretty simple: Hoagie rolls cut in half and open face topped with cheese, then two slices of roast beef, then more cheese baked in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes and….done.

The au jus was where I had the unexpected success as it was, hands down, the part that made the sandwiches amazing. It was another happy accident, too. I started with 3 cups of water with 3 teaspoons of beef bouillon, per the instructions, with a dash of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and soy sauce. I tasted it. Weak sauce. Boring.

Then my mind wandered back to a few nights ago where concentrated beef stock saved my soup efforts and thought, hey! Why not? The water for the bouillon and the concentrated stock was about the same. I did it.

You know what? It worked. And it didn’t just taste good. It was #awesomesauce. Try it, you’ll like it. Although it most certainly won’t taste like chicken.

The french fries were another matter. I’ve determined that no matter the source, whether they be frozen Ore Idas or hand sliced, french fries do not like ovens. After fry size slicing up three potatoes in my super fancy mandolin (the other one my husband gives me crap about for never taking out of the box because it was kind of expensive), I rinsed them until the water ran clear, dried them off, then tossed them in some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

fries_adjusted

Onto a large pan and into the oven they went at 450 degrees for…and I’m not kidding here…like an hour. I’ll tell you one thing, though. When those babies are done, they are “30 seconds from burning” done. At least for me they were. You might have a different relationship with your fries, you potato whisperer you.

The salad was a bit of a combo-purpose job. I had the rest of the Iceburg lettuce from my wedge salads and just a bit left of the arugula-spinach mix I had been eating off of at lunch. There wasn’t enough for the lettuces to be their own stars, so I thought I’d append them with some cucumber (eat it before it eats itself – you know how that goes). Then, after gazing my eyes upon the lemons in the drawer, I decided a actually wanted cucumber-onion salad instead, and thought a lemon vinaigrette would be rather tasty in lieu of my usual balsamic.

20170115_190135
Pardon the blur.

So I seeded and diced the cucumber and half an onion (also looking naked and lonely in the drawer), tossed them in a bowl with the zest and juice of two lemons, added olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and oregano to taste, and voila! Cuke salad. As I was carrying it out to the table, the idea hit me that the salad could be the topping for the lettuce since the lemon vinaigrette would be super tasty with the arugula.

I know. I’m a genius. You don’t have to tell me.

And that’s my share! Talk to you soon.

-DJ

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