By Jenna Weber

As December approaches, try new bold flavors like spicy Thai ginger, beef with apricot preserves, and homemade curry powder. Shop at your Asian and farmers' markets for the best deals on produce and spices, and then get in the kitchen! The Vegetarian Yellow Curry and the Thai Coconut Soup are both perfect for a post-Thanksgiving detox, and beef tenderloin with apricot and olives, best served over a fluffy pile of steamed jasmine rice, will warm you up. I promise you'll have a full and happy tummy this week!

Grocery List

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 (15 oz.) cans coconut milk (light or regular)
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas
1 quart chicken stock
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 stalk lemongrass
1 1/2-inch piece of galangal (Thai ginger)
Jasmine rice
Kaffir lime leaves
1 serrano pepper
Fish sauce
2 limes
4 oz. chanterelle mushrooms
1 fennel bulb
2 large carrots
1 1/4 lb. beef tenderloin
Kalamata olives
Red wine vinegar
Apricot preserves
1 (6 oz.) bag baby spinach
1 large sweet potato
1 yellow onion
1 large knob fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper
2 large heads broccoli
Ground coriander
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds


Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup)
You may need to take a field trip to your local Asian market to find some of the ingredients, but once you have everything, this soup comes together in a flash!

Serves 4

1 can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small strips
1 stalk lemongrass*, halved and cut into four sections
1 1/2-inch-piece galangal*, peeled and chopped
4 small Kaffir lime leaves*, torn into pieces
1 serrano pepper, minced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of 2 limes
4 oz. chanterelle mushrooms, sliced in two
Big bunch of cilantro

Bring the chicken stock to a simmer along with the lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves. Blend in the lime juice and fish sauce, simmer again, and then add the chicken, minced pepper, mushrooms, and coconut milk. Continue simmering until the chicken has cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls and serve with cilantro on top.

* Available at large grocery stores or Asian markets


Beef Tenderloin With Apricot and Olives
This is one of my absolute favorite beef dishes. I love the blend of sweet and savory!

Serves 4

1 1/4 lb. beef tenderloin, chopped into large cubes
1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup apricot preserves
1 (6 oz.) bag baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Jasmine rice to serve

Brown the beef in the olive oil over medium to high heat. When it’s medium rare, remove from pan, set on a plate, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add the minced garlic to the same pan you cooked the beef in. Cook for about 3 minutes and then add the vinegar to deglaze the pan, stirring well to scrape up any brown bits. Add the apricot preserves and cook for 4 minutes, until the sauce bubbles and thickens. Add the olives, beef, and spinach, and heat through, cooking for a few minutes until the spinach wilts and the beef is done.

Serve over jasmine rice.

Vegetarian Yellow Curry
Hit your local farmers' market and warm up with this classic veggie curry. It's a favorite in my house!

Serves 6

1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups water
1 (15 oz.) can coconut milk
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 fennel, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 cups broccoli florets
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon canola oil

Prepare all vegetables and set aside.

In a small saucepan over low to medium heat, toast the coriander, cumin seeds, and mustard seeds gently for about 4 minutes to release maximum flavor. After toasting, add the cayenne, salt, and turmeric, and set aside.

In a large saucepot, combine the diced tomatoes, water, fresh ginger, and spice mixture. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sauté the vegetables. Heat the canola oil over medium heat in a large skillet, add the onion and sauté for about 6 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the garlic, fennel, carrot, and sweet potato. Cook for another 5 minutes. Stir often.

Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for 30 seconds. They will turn bright green. Drain and rinse them under cold water. Set aside.

Add the coconut milk to the tomato mixture and stir in the sautéed veggies, broccoli, and bell pepper. Raise heat to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes, or until the carrots and sweet potato are tender. Stir in the chickpeas.

Serve curry on its own or with brown or jasmine rice. Cilantro is delicious on top!