Food from my father

It’s a bit late for a father’s day post, but on Father’s Day I asked my dad for his recipe for “beefy thing.” That is the sophisticated name of my favorite dish of his.

I am not sure I’d be much interested in food were it not for my dad.

Classy, I know…a picture of a picture. I decided not to edit it because of the lace on the photo album!

He’s always been an adventurous eater and cook. He exposed me to so many different cuisines as I grew up. I remember the first time I ate sushi, Thai, and Indian foods…*contented sigh.*

One thing characteristic about the adventurous cooking of my father’s is that he never really made the same meal twice. Until “beefy thing.”

His version of beefy thing is ground beef, made into a curry dish complemented by sour cream and artichokes. The big boost comes from the coffee grounds – my dad is the only non-professional chef I’ve encountered that uses coffee grounds in his cooking, and it is such a great idea!

I have been craving beefy thing for so long – and not able to eat it because, well, beef. I always use lentils as my beef replacement, so I substituted them here. And added a few quirks of my own. I love shallots; they have such a beautiful color and aroma. Dad forgot to tell me that he puts shallots in his, so I was pleased my instincts were right when I told him I was adding shallots to mine.


I also made some asparagus for a side dish. I usually just make a big hearty meal and forego the side, but I picked up these beauties on a whim at Publix. One thing I take a bit of pleasure in is turning people on to vegetables they hate. My asparagus has won over a few critics!


This recipe uses a number of pantry essentials that have not yet made my list: curry powder, wide-noodle pasta (perfect for my favorite lentil stroganoff), and full-fat Greek yogurt. I use the latter in place of sour cream in so many things. Fage brand is the best, obviously, being quintessentially Greek. Don’t be afraid of dairy fats; they’re good for you!

I give to you…Lentil Thing (formerly Beefy Thing.)


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1 TB garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground coffee
  • 1 TB curry powder
  • 1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 jar drained marinated artichokes
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice, or more to taste
  • 6 oz whole grain extra broad pasta


  1. In a large heavy-bottom pot, add lentils and water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer for 20 minutes with lid tilted.
  2. Chop garlic, mince shallot, and ready other ingredients.
  3. Once lentils are cooked, drain. Then, use the same pot to cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. Heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot and garlic, and cook until softened.
  5. Add lentils, coffee grounds, curry powder, salt, and Greek yogurt. Stir until combined, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. I had to lower the heat a bit to keep the Greek yogurt from cooking down too much.
  6. Add artichokes and cook until heated through. (It’s okay if a little marinade gets in your mixture.)
  7. Add lemon juice and taste. Adjust seasonings by adding more lemon juice or salt if needed.


Serve over pasta with additional yogurt, if desired!

Kathryn’s Roasted Asparagus


  • 1 package/bundle of asparagus
  • ~1 TB olive oil, depending on the amount of asparagus
  • freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 TB minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/8 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Trim asparagus by gently bending spears near the end and snapping off the tail.
  3. Place asparagus in a baking dish (my usual, but baking sheets work too) and toss with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. You don’t want to drown the spears in oil, but just a gentle coat.
  4. Sprinkle desired amount of bread crumbs over the top. Push asparagus to a single layer, if possible.
  5. Bake for 10-20 minutes. I like the tips of the spears to be crisp and slightly blackened. Thin asparagus takes about 10 minutes, and is my preference, but the pictured asparagus was quite thick and baked for about 18 mintues. Add in parmesan during the last few minutes of cooking.
  6. Once out of the oven, toss with lemon juice. You can also top with toasted pine nuts, add red pepper flakes for a bite, or really anything your heart desires!


The only thing not lovely about asparagus is the aroma of asparagus you’ll get on your next “wee” (that sounds better the British way.) Otherwise, it’s a tasty, easy side for just about any dinner.

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