Dog days. Three dog night.
Both of those sayings refer to weather (and yes, I know the second one is a reference to a vapid and tedious '70s "rock" band). Dog Days refers to the long, sultry stretch of summer running from early July to early September. For me it's always meant the three "H"s - Hazy, Hot and Humid. It's the time of year you don't so much wear your clothing, as much as it swaddles you like a wet warm towel.
A "three dog night" on the other hand, means it's so cold that you resort to using your pets as heating elements. I think the phrase comes from outdoor types getting caught out on cold nights and trying to survive by cuddling with their dogs.
Well this summer in Michigan the "dog days" are fast becoming "three dog nights". Hot humid days have been few and far between. The nights have been in the 50's and the family pooch wants to know why he's being allowed to sleep in King & Queen Crabby's bed. The spin doctors (also a band) have changed the name from "global warming" to "climate change", good thing, because there's no warming in sight.
Well the dog days can also refer to my cooking. Normally this time of year, I open the fridge door and stand there for a while. Of course normally I'm trying to cool off, but I'm also searching for inspiration. It's a must go time of year. Well here's my latest "must-go" creation.
Leftover Lo Mein is designed to freshen up things you find in the fridge that just have to go before they decide to go bad on their own. It's a fast and simple recipe, relying on a quick Asian style sauce to punch up the flavors. If you have fresh vegetables, use them, but frozen work just fine. Enjoy...
Leftover Lo Mein
1 package (9 - 12 ounces) Soba Noodles (for this recipe I prefer whole wheat to buckwheat Soba)
Leftover pork, beef or chicken meat, diced
2 cups total of assorted vegetables (peas, carrots, red peppers and corn work especially well)
2 scallions sliced thinly
1 TBSP cooking oil
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 TBSP oyster sauce
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 1/2 TBSP cornstarch
Prepare the soba noodles according to the package instructions. When done cooking, rinse the noodles under cold running water and allow to drain. Set aside.
If you are using frozen vegetables, place them in a colander and run them under warm water until they are slightly thawed. Alternatively, microwave them for 1/2 the recommended cooking time listed on the package. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil and cornstarch. Mix well to fully dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.
Using a large saute pan, heat the cooking oil over high heat for 60 seconds. When hot, add the meat and all vegetables, except the scallions. Saute for 90 seconds tossing occasionally.
After 90 seconds add the cooked soba noodles and toss to combine.
Mix the sauce once again to distribute the cornstarch and immediately add to the saute pan.
Bring to a boil while stirring the ingredients. The sauce will usually thicken within 60 seconds.
Remove from the heat, scatter the chopped scallions atop the noodles and serve.
I have to tell you crablings, this is such a simple recipe and the crowds love it. If you only have beef leftovers then I'd swap the chicken stock for beef stock.
OK, it's raining again, and we aren't going to get to 85 degrees for the foreseeable future, so I'm off to find some pot roast recipes. Until next time, just remember, you can do it, you can cook.