Friday, July 06, 2018

Red Rage BBQ Sauce

I'm in the Keweenaw this week, having just spent the 4th of July enjoying the barbecue at the Fitz, a great restaurant in Eagle River.   They have the very best named BBQ meal on the menu at the Fitz.....Douglas Houghton's Anchor.   Douglas Houghton was Michigan's first geologist, and while working in Eagle River, he and two companions drowned in Lake Superior near Eagle River, Michigan when their small boat capsized in a storm.  His remains were discovered on the shoreline the next spring.   The Douglas Houghton's Anchor menu item features brisket, pulled pork and ribs....it's really enough for 2 people to eat.  I so loved their BBQ ribs that I begged the owner for the recipe, and didn't succeed.    It can never hurt to ask. 

My usual "go to" BBQ sauce recipe is one I first learned about on Bobby Flay's Throwdown.....it was from a restaurant in the Carolina's that no longer is open called Wood Chick.   Here is how I make that sauce.    I was leafing through some old clipped recipes (actually I really wasn't leafing through clipped recipes at all, I was looking at google photos of recipes I took pictures of) and I forgot that I had found a recipe I had coveted for years....Alex Young's Red Rage BBQ sauce at Zingerman's Roadhouse.   Alex is no longer at the Roadhouse, he ended up opening a French restaurant called the Standard Bistro and Larder, and so I wondered if Zingerman's still uses that sauce.....it appears they do, they just call it "Red Rage" now. 



I'm going to try my hand at making a version of this for dinner tonight.   Since I am in the UP, exotic ingredients like Urfa pepper and Muscovado sugar are off the list.   Here is how I will adapt:

Mother's Kitchen Red Rage  BBQ Sauce

1 1/2 c ketchup
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c finely diced onion
1/4 c  beer
1 T honey
1 T molasses
1 1/2 t minced fresh garlic
3/4 t pepper
1 1/2 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 



Saturday, June 02, 2018

Farro Salad



I've been to New York City once.   I don't feel a need to go back again.   But evidently there is a restaurant there called Charlie Bird, which I would probably like, because years ago, Melissa Clark published a recipe for their farro salad in the NYT which I totally loved.     I've made it a bunch of times and tweaked it as I see fit.   It's the only reason I buy farro.   Here's how I make it:

Farro Salad
1 cup farro
1 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons kosher salt,
2 bay leaves
8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shaved
1/2 c chopped pistachio nuts
2 cups arugula leaves
1 cup parsley leaves, torn
1 cup mint leaves
¾ cup halved cherry tomatoes
⅓ cup thinly sliced radish


In a medium saucepan, bring farro, apple cider, salt, bay leaves and 2 cups water to a simmer. Simmer until farro is tender and liquid evaporates, about 30 minutes. If all the liquid evaporates before the farro is done, add a little more water. Let farro cool, then discard bay leaves.


In a Ball jar, add together olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Add farro, cheese and pistachio nuts and mix well. This salad base will keep for up to 4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.   Just before serving, fold in arugula, herbs, tomatoes, radish.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spring Radish Salad



Yesterday, my sister and I shopped at the annual Loch Alpine Garage Sale, which has been going on the weekend before Memorial Day since before we moved here in 1992.   There are always good things to be found at the sale.   This year, I was lucky to find a few things I needed, like some stationery cards and a really nice have blue sweater, and some things I didn't really need, like more cookbooks, or a CD of Dr. Hook's Greatest Hits for 25 cents.   (yes,  I bought it!) The weather was cool and rainy....this spring has been the coldest and rainiest spring I can remember since we have lived here.   Sandy spotted a cookbook she thought I needed to have.....




I spend a lot of my work time when I am not in Detroit, in Kentucky.  We have lots of suppliers there.   I have to say its cuisine has grown on me the past few years.  So I bought the book for 50 cents, and it was money well spent.   I like Maggie's writing style, which is a cross between Christopher Kimball (before he became pompous), and Mrs. Sundberg (the voice of Garrison Keillor before he became a part of the #metoo movement).   And the recipes look great, as well: a celebration of all things Kentucky.     I like the format, too....it is written in calendar form.   In May, I found a recipe that looked interesting for this time of year.....you know, when you want a fresh salad but there really isn't much out there.   I tweaked her recipe to suit my taste (i.e. more vinegar than olive oil, and substituted local Michigan honey for Kentucky honey).   This is a great salad that will hold up on the fridge for a few days. 

1 bag radishes
2 carrots, peeled
1 bunch stemmed parsley
1/4 c red wine vinegar (I make mine myself, here's how!)
3 T olive oil
1 T local Michigan honey
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper



Using a food processor, shred radishes and carrots.   Put in a medium bowl  Remover shredder plate and put in chopping blade.   Add remaining ingredients and pulse food processor until parsley is finely chopped.  Add to radishes and carrots and mix well, add salt and pepper to taste. 

 Perfect for leftover lunch this week!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Ambassador Tostada Pizza




The tostada pizza at the Ambassador in Houghton is a favorite Michigan Tech memory for many alumni, along with the fishbowls, of course.   While I prefer the subs at the Ambassador over the pizza there,  the tostada pizza is also quite good.   It's got taco seasoned meat, and it is topped with lettuce and cheese and tomatoes.   I often get asked for this recipe, so I set out to try to make it myself.      A few years ago, MLive went around the state of Michigan searching for the best pizza and wrote up an article about it.    In the article, they offered me a few clues:

"The Ambassador serves pizza in the a Chicago thin crust. The trademarks of the style are the thickness of the crust, that it needs to be cooked on a stone slate, not a wood fire. The third trademark is that its cut in squares. The dough is made the day before it is used. It includes flour, salt and sugar, which more or less feeds the yeast. They also use a little bit of dry milk and uses cake yeast.  They cook the pizzas at 475 to 500 degrees on a gas-fired oven for 12 to 14 minutes, depending on the ingredients. For the sauce, they start with a tomato paste from Stanislaus and adds water, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper and parmesan cheese. The cheese is a Wisconsin White Colby, which is a high percentage, high moisture cheese with a little bit of mozzarella in it mix." 

I decided to decode the crust first, since I haven't ever tried perfecting a thin style pizza crust.    Despite the article's reference to cake yeast and a slow rise, I decided to skip that and look online to find a good thin crust pizza recipe that didn't require several days to make.  Googling around, I found some recipes that suggested not letting the dough rise at all for a thin crust pizza.   That sounded interesting to me, and sure enough, it did work well.   The article references a pizza stone, but I have found I much prefer my Lodge Cast Iron Pizza Pan to my pizza stones, which are easy to break and take forever to season.  J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats turned me on to making pizza on metal.....I will never go back to stone again.

cast iron pizza pan


Like a pizza stone, you will want to preheat your cast iron pizza pan in the oven first.   Preheat your oven to the highest temperature it will go (mine is 550 F) with the pan in it.   It will take a long time, so start the oven first thing.  I put it on a rack in the bottom third of the oven.   Heat it for 45 minutes.  Meanwhile, make the dough:

Thin Crust No Rise Pizza Dough

3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active-dry yeast
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided


Pour the water into a medium bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water, and let stand until the yeast has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the flour and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until floury, shaggy dough forms. Turn the dough out onto the counter, and knead the dough until it forms a smooth, slightly tacky ball that springs back when you poke it, 5 to 8 minutes. If the dough sticks to your hands, add a tablespoon of flour at a time until it’s easier to work with; avoid adding too much flour if possible.  Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let sit while you prepare the pizza toppings,

Now, I had to consider the toppings for the pizza.   One of the trademark tastes of the Ambassador tostada pizza is the slightly sweet sauce.  The article mentioned "tomato paste from Stanislaus", and down the rabbit hole I went!   There are a lot of pizza nerds out there....and after much online research, I found the sauce that was referenced..... it can be purchased at Gordon's Food Service.



I compared the taste of it with regular tomato paste you can get at the grocery store, because I realize not everyone will want to buy a giant restaurant sized can of pizza sauce (I now have enough pizza sauce in my freezer to last me the rest of my life).  It does taste different...the Stanislaus brand is more sweet and fresh tasting.   The people at Stanislaus recommend thinning it a little to apply to your pizza and not precooking it before adding it.  To be honest, once the pizza is cooked, you can hardly tell the difference of the tomato paste brand, so I'd recommend just sticking with storebought brands.

Pizza Sauce

1 6 oz. can Contadina tomato paste
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. oregano
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 T. parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, mix together.   Do not precook sauce.

Now, on to the taco meat.    I tried making taco meat using my every day taco seasoning from Penzeys, and it was not right.    Too spicy!  So I put it out to my MTU Alumni fb group, and sure enough, a fellow alum (who will remain nameless) provided me with the recipe for the spice mix they use at the Ambassador, with the admonishment to say that "I didn't get it from him".    So there you go!  I didn't get it from him.  In fact, after downscaling his provided recipe, I tweaked it a bit to get it to be more to my liking anyway.   Here is what I came up with:

Taco Meat

1 lb hambuger
1 T. onion powder
1 T. kosher salt
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 T. chili powder
1/2 t. crushed red pepper

In a skillet, brown hamburger.   Add spices and stir until cooked through.   Remove from heat and add  about half the pizza sauce to it.  Do not cook any further


For the rest of the toppings:

8 oz. bag shredded Colby Monterey Jack Cheese
8 oz. bag shredded iceburg lettuce
1 roma tomato, diced
1 small bottle mild taco sauce

Returning to the dough, put a piece of parchment paper on the counter top and stretch or roll dough into a thin, 20 inch round on it. Form from the middle of the dough outwards, using the heel of your hand to gently press and stretch the dough until it's about a 1/4-inch thick or less.  Roll it with a rolling pin if you have to do so. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for 5 minutes and then try rolling again.    Brush the dough with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil. Spread  remaining pizza sauce into a thin layer onto dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border.  Turn oven down to 450F and place the parchment paper with pizza on pizza pan and cook for 5 minutes. 

Remove pan from oven and top with taco meat and half of the cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and crust is brown.   Remove pizza from oven and top with remaining cheese, lettuce and diced tomato and taco sauce swirl.   Traditionally, Ambasador pizza is cut into squares, not wedges.

Enjoy with your favorite fishbowl!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Stir Fry Beef and Spinach with Noodles

Many years ago, in 1994,  I was a finalist in the National Beef Cookoff, sponsored by the Cattleman's Association...I will forever think of this time in my life whenever I hear this song




I didn't win, but I got an all expenses paid trip to Little Rock, Arkansas (visit summary: a lot of Bill and Hillary Clinton and TCBY Yogurt, which was founded there.  Not much else)  But I also got to know what I affectionately called "the beef people" pretty well.   I  did a lot of press with them,  because even though I didn't win, a hugely pregnant woman engineer fit right into their marketing plan and that is how I learned about this recipe.   The beauty of this recipe is that is as simple as spaghetti sauce from a jar, but yet it is not.   If you don't have sirloin tip steak available, just make it with hamburger.    It is really, really good.   And it can be "what's for dinner" on a Tuesday night, in 30 minutes. 


Alpha Delta Alpha Cookbook



In 2005, my sorority published a cookbook in honor of the 25th anniversary of it's founding at Michigan Tech.   I didn't know it had even existed until recently, and one of my sorority sisters mailed it to me so I could scan it in and share it.   So here it is!  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Coconut Cream Pie


Last Sunday was Easter, and it sure doesn't feel like Easter around here.  The weather is still very much winter.   It's 18 degrees out this morning, for example.   It's been snowing the past few days.  My daughter had to work, so she wasn't able to come for Easter dinner, and my son is at college, and my family was out of town, so I invited some friends over instead.    I have always loved coconut cream pie, but I realized I had never made one before in my life.   I recently picked up Zingerman's Bakehouse Cookbook and it's described as one of the first pies for spring. 

First of all, I tried their pastry crust recipe, which is an all butter affair.   I wasn't overly impressed,   it came out tougher than my typical shortening based crust, but I did learn a great tip in their  directions.   They suggest that when the crust is crumbly, stop adding water and turn the mixture onto the counter and push out sections of dough with the heal of your hand once....they call it "schmearing, and then fold it back on itself with a bench scraper.  Sure enough, this technique made the crust hold together! 

Otherwise, I did love how this pie came out. It's got both coconut milk and toasted coconut in it.   Here's my take on their recipe....

Coconut Cream Pie

1 9" single pie crust, blind baked
1 1/4 c. unsweetened flaked coconut  (had to buy at People's Food Coop, check health food stores)
3/4 c. granulated sugar (their recipe included an addition 2 T., don't bother.  Must have been a remainder from an industrial sized recipe)
1/4 c. corn starch (ditto,  theirs had an additional 1.5 t, not needed)
1/2 t. kosher salt  (their recipe called for sea salt)
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 can coconut milk (the kind you use for Thai recipes, not pina coladas.  Their recipe called for 1 1/2 cups and since the can I had was slightly less than that, I wasn't willing to open another for a little bit more)
3 egg yolks
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. butter (I used salted, don't keep unsalted around)

For Whipped Cream Topping
1/2  pt. heavy cream  (original recipe called for 12 oz.....that would be way too much!)
2 t. vanilla (original recipe called for 1/2 vanilla bean seeds, I didn't bother)
2 T. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 300 F.  Spread coconut onto a cookie sheet.   Toast in the oven for about 5-10 minutes, stirring a couple times, until golden brown.   In a medium saucepan, stir sugar, starch and salt.  Add the milks and the egg yolks, whisk to combine.  Cook the filling until it thickens and comes to a boil.   Continue to cook for 1 minute while stirring.    I was a little nervous because there was no temperature called out and I like to use a thermometer for this, but it was just fine. Reserve 1/4 c. coconut for topping.  Remove from heat and add remaining coconut, vanilla add butter and stir. Pour filling in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and let it cool for 30 minutes at room temperature

Stir mixture again and pour into cooled pie crust.   Cover with plastic wrap again and press into filling, refrigerate for 2 hours.  To make whipped cream, put ingredients in bowl of a stand mixer and using whisk attachment, beat on high until firm peaks form.   Top pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut.   Enjoy!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

DIY Beeswax Wraps





Every once in a while, I embark on a project that becomes an ordeal.   Like the time I made veal demi-glace from scratch which I realized was a colossal waste of time, especially after I lost it all when the power went out and my freezer thawed.   I just don't really need veal demi-glace that bad, and if I did, I can buy it right from Bob Sparrow at Sparrow's Meat Market himself.    Likewise, you can just buy these from me and save yourself lots of time and money.   I just posted this listing in my Etsy shop.  Here is my tale of how these came to be...

Many of my crafting ideas come to me when I have the day off from work, so last summer, while on vacation, I came across this blog post about DIY beeswax wraps and decided I wanted to make my own.  The ones you can buy locally are $18 for a set of 3, and I didn't want to spend that much, so I reckoned I could make them cheaper.   Plus, I had a long standing dream of making my own oil cloth someday....yes, I realize that is a strange dream....but I get weird ideas like this all the time.    So, instead of just spending $18, I decided to spend $24.63 to buy beeswax, jojoba oil and pine resin on Amazon.   I wasn't sure where I could get pine resin, but I know it is the stuff you put on your hands when you are bowling or playing baseball, so I bought a container.    Many months went by before I actually set out to make this craft.  I got down to it last weekend, and discovered a) I already had a bottle of jojoba oil in my craft room from some other craft I forgot to do and b) sports rosin doesn't melt.  Evidently there's more than just pine resin in sports rosin.     Off I head to the natural food store to try to buy some pine resin, because herbalists use it for salves and ointment.  I even tried the sporting goods store again, thinking perhaps they sell sticks of it for baseball bats.   Yes, but it is pine tar, and it is black.  That wasn't going to work.....so enter my friend Dave...

Everyone should have a friend like Dave.   I have known Dave since we were both college students at Michigan Tech, where we worked in the computer center together.  Dave is the kind of guy that when he gets curious about something, he goes and figures it out.  For example, here is how he figured out solar power.    So I figured Dave would know where to get some pine resin....and of course he did, because last year he decided to make some pine resin glue for his boots.  (and you thought I had strange dreams because I want to make my own oil cloth!)  He told me he had some left over that he harvested.   So, I set aside the day of crafting to meet Dave at the Corner Brewery in  Ypsi to pick up his stash of pine resin and have a few beers ($10).   Finally, I set out to melt the resin, and there was just too much stuff in it to make it work for wraps.   I needed PURE GRANULATED PINE RESIN.  Another $19.95  later on Amazon, and now I am ready to start!  Total cost of project is now up to $54.58. 



I followed the directions as written in the blog post, and started melting the pine resin in a double boiler.   It takes about 20 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden skewer.  Pine resin sticks to everything.   Then, I added the beeswax, and the pine resin immediately solidified and the process had to start all over again!  What works better is to just mix the beeswax and resin together from the start.  There is no reason do it separately.   The blog post said that it would make 4 12"x12" wraps, but it didn't for me....maybe because my cloth was thicker, it only made 2.   

Here is the recipe:

DIY Beeswax Wraps
2 T. granulated pine resin  (18 g)
1/4 c. beeswax pellets
1 T. jojoba oil

Preheat oven to 225 F.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Heat resin and beeswax in double boiler until melted, about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.   Add oil and stir.   Paint on cloth until evenly covered.  The wax will solidify as you paint it on.   Place in oven until all wax is melted again, and then take it out of the oven and place other piece of fabric on the top and flip it over.  Use oven gloves, it will be hot!  Press down on new piece of fabric to soak up excess wax.   Remove original cloth and cool on clothes rack.  Repeat with second cloth using remaining wax, softening in oven to insure uniform waxing over surface.






After the resin and wax is melted, add the jojoba oil.  I forgot for one batch and had to throw them out.   They will be too stiff.  Also, don't forget to put the cap back on the jojoba oil or you can spill it all over the counter.   Luckily I had another bottle available ($5.99) .  My hands were real soft, except where the pine resin stuck to them.   Also, had to throw out my brand new Kitchen Aid plastic measuring spoons ($16.65) because pine resin really likes to stick to plastic, I have learned.   Instead, just weigh it out....2 T. is 18 grams of pine resin.  Since I had my scale out now, I noticed my kitchen looked like something out of Breaking Bad.....




Pine resin is flammable, fires love beeswax, and I am standing around my kitchen in my PJs.  How would I possibly explain this to the fire department if I needed to call 911?  Better be careful to keep the flame away from it all.     Hours later, my wraps are now complete....total cost of $77.82.  Thankfully, I realized that I should take off my wedding ring before resin attached itself to my diamond and I didn't pour anything down  the sink which would have required a plumber, or these wraps could have cost much more.  I did have to throw away the paintbrush after ($7.00) so the total cost is now $84.22!!!  Good thing I didn't spend the $18 originally!   The good news is now I am selling the wraps for $8 on my Etsy store, so you don't have to make them.   Also, now that I have a lifetime supply of pine resin, I guess it is time to start making pine resin salve

Happy Crafting!


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Buffalo Chicken Salad




A few weeks ago, I was shopping at Arbor Farms, a local grocery store here in Ann Arbor, and I was impressed with a couple salads in their deli.   I posted my take on one of them last month, Olympic Salad, and then I experimented with another one I saw there inspired by buffalo wings.   I love buffalo wings!    I knew I'd have to try my hand at making this salad. 

First, I needed to make some cooked chicken.   I often make some chicken breasts this way on a Sunday and use them whenever I need chicken in a meal.  I put them individually in bags in the freezer and so I can take out however many I need for whatever I am making.   They are great in sandwiches or with salad or in a casserole.     

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 T dried rosemary
2 T dried parsley
1 T kosher salt
1 c lemon juice
3 T olive oil

Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them in half to make 2 pieces.  This helps the chicken cook evenly without drying out.   In a ziplock bag, add remaining ingredients, mix well.   Add chicken and make sure it is coated evenly,  marinate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.   Turn the bag every once in a while. 

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Lay the chicken breasts on a cookie sheet, and pour remaining marinade over the top of chicken.  Roast for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
(serves 2)

2 lemon herb roasted chicken breast halves, sliced into strips
1/2 red pepper, seeded cut into 1 inch strips
1/2 red onion, sliced pole to pole
1 stalk celery, cut on the bias
1 peeled carrot, also cut on the bias
1 oz. blue cheese crumbles

Mix ingredients together in a bowl. 

Buffalo Dressing

4 T light mayonnaise (you can use regular as well)
2 T Franks Red Hot sauce (or more if you like it spicy)
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced

Place all the ingredients in a small jar and shake until blended.

Add dressing to salad and mix well. 

It came out wonderful!  The sturdy vegetables held up well so I could make it ahead for work week lunches.  Added bonus:  even with the cheese,  a serving of it is only 3 WW points, if you are counting points. 


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Olympic Salad

Here it is, almost the end of the month of February, and I am just making it across the finish line for my goal of a monthly blog post.   I have been busy with a lot of travel and haven't had the chance to spend as much time as I would like in the kitchen.   I finally had the opportunity to try to recreate a salad I saw in the deli case at Arbor Farms Market,  a local health food store.   I'm not sure if it called "Olympic" because of the colors of the salad or the Greek inspired ingredients, but it came out totally delicious.    And if I make it with fat free feta cheese, it is 0 WW points per serving!   I'm cooking lunch for our upcoming Growing In God day of renewal at church for women, and it is my plan to offer a variety of prepared salads, including this one!   It's a keeper....


Olympic Salad
(serves 2)

1/2 hot house cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced
1/2 container cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
3 T chopped parsley
1/2 c. Greek olives from olive bar, with garlic halved  (reserve brine)
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
4 oz. feta cheese, diced
juice from one lemon

Mix all salad ingredients together, add brine and lemon juice and toss until coated. 

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Red Lentil Soup

Will a lentil soup change your life?   I think this one will...




I knew it was a winner when I made it late on a Sunday after a pre-Christmas dinner at my sister in law's house where we all ate way too much pizza and fudge and peanut butter kiss cookies and we needed a little something later in the evening.   I whipped up a batch and my "meat and potatoes" twenty something son proclaimed it "really good" and ate the rest of it.   It takes 30 minutes to make!  Next test was the vegetarian friend Patty who said that not only was it the best lentil soup she ever tasted, it was in the top 5 soups she ever had.   Those are some pretty wonderful compliments, especially coming from a soup that doesn't take all that long to make. 

I started with a recipe from America's Test Kitchen, which looked good, but had some pain in the a$$ things about it, like spiced butter.   I didn't have time for that.    Why not just put those spices in the soup?  Here is how I've made it.....3x now and I can see I will keep on making it for a long while.   For the vegetarians, just substitute the chicken broth for vegetable.    So good!

Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
¾ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch cayenne
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
10 ½ ounces (1 ½ cups) red lentils, picked over and rinsed
2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add coriander, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water, and lentils and bring to simmer. Simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until lentils are soft and about half are broken down, about 15 minutes.

Whisk soup vigorously until it is coarsely pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and extra lemon juice to taste.

Ladle soup into individual bowls, sprinkle with  paprika and cilantro, and serve.

UPDATE:  My recipe was recently featured in the Michigan Electric Coop Magazine Country Lines.   Here is the video