Episode 4 of IN THE TIME ZONE made by Victor Enns and Murray Toews is brought to you by the Letter D.

I will add more text tomorrow, but want to send this out tonight.








This is a soup I have been wanting to make for years, ever since Hermano’s in Winnipeg was out of reach. Sometimes Safeway/Sobey’s had one, but but yes, time to make my own.


Halve 3 perfect bright to darkening red red bell peppers, take out seeds and pith.  Halve the halves again. Put parchment paper (foil might be faster, bright side up)into a full sized cookie sheet. I used a little olive oil, though not entirely necessary I gather. Peppers go on the sheet inside down.

Roast 3 Prepped peppers starting at 425, and leaving them there, for 25to  30 minutes or down to 400 depending on your stove. Charring is necessary, and in frustration I ended up using broil with the rack still in the middle. Watch carefully!

Peel 3 quartered roasted peppers when cooled, set aside.

Saute small onion and 3 crushed garlic cloves with butter and olive oil in your soup pot, add one finely chopped carrot (means you can skip any sugar you see in recipes,though peppers should bring enough sweetness anyway) and celery stalk.

Chop the red pepper pieces, (this is all going into a blender) and add to the pot.
Season with dry oregano, fresh and/or dry basil, fresh ground black pepper, a dry chili pepper and/or pepper flakes to taste. I was lucky (Thanks brother!)to use a dried “heritage” chili pepper, seeds from Ukraine. I don’t add salt. Keep an eye on anything you put into the soup that already has salt in it. You can season to taste at the end.

Add 28 oz. diced tomatoes, and a whole
6 oz can(!) of tomato paste. (Finally a recipe that uses it all!)

Prepare vegetable stock (from bullion will do, but don’t use those containers of made broth) have milk ready, can be coconut milk, but I used cow milk)

Add some stock

Add some milk

This is where the alchemy happens. You will have your own desired chili pepper heat, and desired texture. This soup is not about the chili peppers, onions or garlic. It’s about the red peppers and tomatoes, basil is the flavour forward, but the roasted red peppers take this soup to another and very tasty level.

Cook, on the stove thirty minutes or less… carrots are cooked for sure.

BLEND: (MORE ALCHEMY) have milk and stock beside blender. Ladle no more than 2 cups of soup at a time depending on your blender (I have an old Oster I love). Press Blend low, Press Blend High using milk and or stock judiciously to achieve the desired texture.
Pour into serving bowl. Garnish with basil leaves

ENJOY! Serve yourself. Croutons instead of biscuits if you must. I made sure I had a fresh basil leaf and a dab of Plain Balkan Yogurt.

I’ve heard it freezes well, but won’t know this time around.

Telling It Like It Is (some nights)


Shrink sock on my stump
glasses on the night table
gauntlets on my wrists and forearms
mouth open meds riding
the water slide of my throat
mouth-guard so I don’t grind all night.

Richard Hines Photo

There I said said, a diaper around my bottom
like the cartoon of a New Year’s baby (just kidding)
my body a perfect vertical lie on the horizontal
line, music quiet and classical
temperature just past the click
parking lot lights on the ceiling
filtered by my apartment’s vertical blinds.

There is no you just me taking up
as much space as I can muster
your used to be pillow carries
your scent in the memory foam
while the clock counts down
the minutes needed to pass
over time before I can die.

written June 2020 revised Jan.5 2021

Victor Enns reads and writes poetry and fiction. Afghanistan Confessions, poems in the voice of Canadian soldiers, was published in 2014, boy in 2012. Lucky Man (2005) was nominated for the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year award.