Slow Cooker Ginger Honey Chicken

Slow Cooker Ginger-Honey Chicken

Slow Cooker Ginger Honey Chicken

I can’t believe it took me so long to blog this ginger honey chicken dish, because it was SO GOOD. While winter is in its last gasps I encourage everyone to make and enjoy this super-easy slow cooker recipe. As with all the best slow cooker situations, it’s quick to prep, makes your house smell delicious, and seems like you put waaaay more work into it than you actually did. Score, score, and score.

Slow Cooker Ginger-Honey Chicken

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Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry

Waaaay Better Than Takeout: Sweet and Spicy Coconut Oil Stir Fry

Sweet and Spicy Stir Fry

I’ve written about my love for coconut oil before, especially for stir fries. Not only does it smell ridiculously amazing while you’re cooking with it, but it’s one of the only oils that’s truly stable enough to handle high-heat cooking (aka… stir fries, what up!) and its fats are more easily metabolized in the body, so it’s great for your heart! So let’s get cracking on this sooooo-much-better-than-takeout meal, shall we?

Tonight I got home from work and I was not. feelin’. it. I had a long weekend of partying at a music festival (I know, poor me) and the last thing I wanted to do was cook. I was fantasizing about some takeout, or at the very least a trip to the nearest Whole Foods salad bar. But my man Rob surprised me with a plethora of organic vegetables from his trip to the new Austin Trader Joe’s this afternoon, and if you know Trader Joe’s, you know that its produce doesn’t stay well for long. (Love you TJs, but it’s true!) The meal I whipped up for us was even better, and possibly quicker, than ordering from our nearest Chinese place. And it’s definitely healthier. All it took was a little bit of coconut oil, spices, and Chinese sauces (thick, sweet hoisin and oyster sauce, which doesn’t really taste like oysters but just adds a super salty depth of flavor).

Sweet & Spicy Coconut Oil Stir Fry

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Don’t Blow the Entrance

Editor’s Note: Jody Melto, who has previously brought ES news of lemon cupcakes and Chinese balls, returns to share some very Simmer-y tips about how to survive summer party season.

Summer time is party time. Whether you’re going to a backyard cookout, lazy porch fest or rooftop soiree, don’t just show up and eat chips. Anyone can do that. Be special. Make an Entrance. Arrive.

Following these six tips will secure a place for you in the happy collective party memory, as well as guarantee future invitations tovother great parties.

Tip #1  Get invited to a great party. This is key. If you weren’t invited, bring it up to the host in such a way that he has no choice bbut to invite you. Make it really uncomfortable. Shaming someone into an invitation is only risky if you embarrass yourself later at the party. Like getting drunk and singing with the mariachi band.

Tip #2  Invite an entourage. Nothing says “I matter” like a group trailing behind you. And to really pollute your work-life environment,make one an intern at your new job and the other her roommate who is a complete stranger to you. That unpredictable X Factor.  Also, bringing some party crashers says to the host, “Look! I’m so comfortable inviting myself, I brought others!” Confidence is attractive.

Tip #3  If you bring party crashers, make them unique. In my case, my entourage/unsuspecting party crashers are two lovely Chinese women who have only been in the States for a year. To add a layer of cultural awkwardness. Luckily  “party crasher” doesn’t translate well. In Chinese it literally means, “confuse the water with ink and fish.”  Which, I think, speaks for itself.

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Top 10 Break-Up Foods

For some, Valentine’s Day is a time of magic and romance. For the rest of us, it’s a pain in the ass. I’m not a big proponent of feeling pressured if you’re dating someone, or sorry for yourself if you’re not. Come on, we’re all gonna get laid sooner or later, who cares if it’s on V-Day, right? And most romances end in heartache, so let’s just indulge ourselves and talk about something more realistic than the perfect confections to buy your sweetheart.

Maybe you’re feeling bitter because you got dumped right before Valentine’s Day, maybe you found out through Facebook that your high school lover is engaged, maybe you just realized that every dude on this season of Mtv’s Real World/Road Rules: The Challenge somehow resembles one of your ex-boyfriends. (I mean…hypothetically, of course.) At least there is always food and sweet, sweet alcohol.

Just in time for everyone who is feeling bitter over this “holiday,” we present Endless Simmer’s Top 10 Break-Up Foods.

10. Bananas

I know, we’re starting off with a weird one, but bear with me. For a lot of us, when we’re upset or depressed or convinced we will die alone, sometimes it’s hard to see the point of eating. (If you are in this heartbroken place, don’t worry; in my experience, this unwillingness to stuff your face will pass soon enough.) While you might feel dramatic and slightly excited by the possibility of effortless weight loss, you need something to provide you with energy, or at least keep you from fainting at your desk. I read somewhere that the human body could technically live off bananas. I don’t know if this is actually true, but this “fact” stuck with me, and now whenever I’m depressed and have to force myself to eat, I choke down a banana.

9. Coffee

You might be waking up alone, but at least you have a daybreak companion to look forward to: coffee. If you’re been up until 4am crying, or maybe writing angry emails, or pathetic “I am so lonely without you” texts, it’s gonna be a rough morning. You need to force yourself to get out of bed and face the day somehow. What is the answer? Caffeine, of course. There is something about a sober, steaming mug of black coffee that is bleakly comforting.

8. Pizza

You’re in no mood to cook. Everything is too much effort. Nothing says “I’m lonely and lazy” like some cheap pizza. Plus it’s oily enough to soak up a boozy hangover if you’re been drinking away your sorrows. Whether it’s local delivery, late-night drunken desperation, or a cold slice out of a greasy box you find in the back of the fridge, pizza is a tried-and-true break-up binge classic.

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Feeding the Dragon: Yunnan Potato Balls with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Editor’s Note: A Chinese teacher/translator and writer living in Washington, D.C., Jody Melto of Curlicue Chronicles joins us for a tasty trek through China…

At first glance, I didn’t want to like Feeding the Dragon, the recently published travelogue/cookbook on China. First of all, there are the names of the co-authors, sister and brother duo Mary Kate and Nate Tate. But that’s not their fault.

However, young Mary Kate Tate asking in the introduction, “How can we record each person’s story, taste every dish? Have we bitten off more than we can chew?” is quite their fault. It reeks of a Julie & Julia attempt. I bet The Two Tates have talked about just playing themselves when the cookbook is optioned. Now I’m just being snarky. I did that with Julie & Julia, come to think about it.

At least my snark has backstory. I spent the first part of my 20s living in a small Chinese town as a student on scholarship, working as a teacher, model and even as an actress in some really bad television shows and one martial arts film to earn enough money to travel over 250 hard-seat hours by train throughout China. No credit card. No cell phone. No parents footing the bill. Pretty hardcore travel. Who can blame me for being snarky when it comes to a couple young hipsters who claim to have roughed it through China on a quest to “taste every dish?”

Just when I’m feeling quite smug, Mary Kate & Nate Tate (I just love saying that) do something that impresses the hell out of me — they admit to eating dog. They weren’t ballsy enough to include a recipe calling for dog meat. But I give credit when it’s due. And that took balls. I’ve killed the mood at more than one dinner party after raving about doggie dumplings. (Dog people can be so freakin’ sensitive.)

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Artsy Photo Series of the Day

And the result…

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The Endless Road Trip — Philadelphia’s Top 10 Eats 2. Soup Dumpling Surprise

When I picture Philadelphia, a smattering of obvious things come to mind: cheesesteaks, the Liberty Bell, Rocky Balboa, Ben Franklin…pretty standard. What I never imagined was that Philly would have amazing Chinese food. I do not say this lightly, as I come from a city teeming with authentic Asian cuisine. In Seattle, you can throw a rock and hit a Thai place, a Chinese place, or a Japanese place (realistically, probably all three). So when I heard that Philly”s Chinatown was supposed to house some of the city”s best hidden dining gems, I was eager to check it out.

Enter Dim Sum Garden, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant on the edge of Chinatown, near the bus tunnel. Not very appealing from the outside, but as I have said time and time and time again, some of the best restaurants have the shabbiest exteriors. The interior doesn”t exactly scream “gourmet experience” either — the ambiance is music-less and fluorescent-lit. Not a problem, because we weren”t visiting for fancy atmosphere. No, we were at Dim Sum Garden for one main reason: soup dumplings!

Now just to be clear, a soup dumpling is not some confused way of saying dumpling soup. No, this is exactly what it sounds like: a dumpling, with soup inside. It”s basically like eating dumpling soup, but inverted; outside it”s just an innocent dumpling, but inside is piping hot liquid! Eating these special dumplings requires a special process. It”s not enough to simply pop the whole thing in your mouth, you must employ a multi-step system to fully appreciate the components of the soup dumpling.

Luckily for all, we knew what had to be casino online done: an instructional video! No soup dumpling left behind:

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