Hungarian Pepper Bisque Soup


Now this has some spice!  It wasn’t that long ago that I was at the Taste of Buffalo where I tried, for the first time, Hungarian Stuffed Pepper Soup.  It was good enough that I visited the restaurant and had a bowl of it for lunch.  It was full-flavored, rich, smooth, but not thick and gloppy like so many soups are served up elsewhere.

Let’s fast forward to the Williamsville Farmers’ Market at the Mill this morning.  There were these beautiful Hungarian peppers, and I thought back to that wonderful soup.  Could I do anything like it?  Some of the peppers made their way into my vegetable purchase, and from there, they eventually made their way into my Vitamix.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Hungarian peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped (if you like heat, add 3!)
  • 3 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 Tablespoon of freshly chopped Basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons of freshly chopped Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon of freshly chopped Parsley
  • 1-1/2 cups of grated Romano cheese
  • 4 to 8 oz. of cream cheese (not whipped cream cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • smoked paprika
  • shredded smoked chicken (optional)

Heat the olive oil over medium in a fry pan.  Add the onions and the garlic, and lower the heat to low.  Saute for two minutes and then add the green bell pepper and the Hungarian peppers.  Continue to saute until the vegetables are tender. Remove from heat.

In a 64 oz. Vitamix container, place the chicken broth, basil, oregano, and parsley.  Add on top of this the sauteed vegetable mixture, the Romano cheese, and the cream cheese.  Note that I try it first with four ounces, and then add more if it needs it to “contain the heat”. Secure the lid on the Vitamix and set the Variable Speed to 1.  Start the Vitamix and gradually turn the speed up to 10.  Let run for six minutes at this speed until hot.

Taste the soup, and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Be sure to secure the lid afterwards, then blend on Variable Speed 1 for 20 seconds to combine.

This soup is lovely, smooth, and rich.  I like to ladle it into a mug, topping it with a sprinkle of smoked paprika.  If you want a heartier dish, place some warm, shredded smoked chicken in your bowl first, then ladle soup over it.  Heavenly!

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

This is not a wimpy, thin tortilla soup.  The texture is thick and rich, with a complexity created by four different types of peppers.  The roasting of the poblano and bell peppers gives a slightly smokey flavor to the dish, making you want to come back for seconds.

  • 1 to 2 poblano peppers (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons of virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper (depending on how spicy you want it), cut in half, seeds and stem removed
  • 1 15-oz can of roasted tomatoes, or three freshly-roasted tomatoes (if you use fresh, make sure that they are naturally ripe in-season)
  • 1 rib of celery
  • 1 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Penzy’s Adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 4-oz can green chilies
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 15-oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 ears of corn

Toppings (optional)

  • black olives, pits removed and chopped (I used the canned variety)
  • 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • 1 broiled skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 small bag blue tortilla chips, broken up
  • minced fresh Cilantro
  1. Pre-heat the oven broiler.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Wash and dry the poblano peppers and the red pepper.  Place these on the baking sheet, and set under the broiler.  Broil, turning occasionally, until all sides are blackened.  Remove from the oven, and place the peppers into a glass bowl, covering with a plate.  Leave these to “sweat” for a bit.
  2. Peel both the red and yellow onions, as well as the garlic cloves.  Quarter the onions, and place both the onions and the garlic in a 64 oz. Vitamix container.  Set speed to Variable 1, and pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onion and garlic mixture to this, reduce the heat to low, and saute until the onions are golden.  Remove from heat.
  4. Return to the (hopefully) cooling poblano peppers and bell pepper.  Sloth the majority of the loose skin off, then slice open, removing the stem, core and the seeds.
  5. Add to the 64 oz. Vitamix container the chicken stock, jalapeno pepper, roasted tomatoes, celery, chili powder, Adobo, cumin, smoked paprika and green chilies.   Add the poblano peppers, bell pepper, and onion mixture.  Don’t wash that soup pot yet!
  6. Secure the lid on the Vitamix, and set the Variable Speed to 1.  Start the Vitamix, gradually increasing the speed until you reach 10.  Run this for six to seven minutes at Variable 10.
  7. Once the soup base mixture is hot, it’s a great time to check the salt level of your soup.  Taste the thick broth, adding sea salt to taste.  Replace the lid, and run at Variable 1 for 20 seconds to blend.
  8. Husk the corn, and cut the kernels from the cob.  Rinse the beans well.  Set aside the corn and the beans.
  9. Pour the soup base mixture into the large soup pot.  This will de-glaze all that lovely caramelization left behind from the onions, adding more flavor to your soup.   Add the corn and beans to the mixture, stirring over low heat until the corn and beans are heated through.

For serving, ladle into bowls and garnish with your choice of sliced avocado, shredded chicken, grated Cheddar cheese, sour cream, blue corn chips, black olives, and fresh cilantro.  Note: If you are “shy” of spicy soups, be sure to try yours with cheddar cheese and sour cream.  It mellows it right out!

Dairy-Free Asparagus Soup



This is one of my favorite, quick, yet flavorful soups.  So many asparagus soups are weighed down with heavy cream, and they really don’t need to be.  What we are going to do is roast our asparagus to bring out the flavor.

When I was little, my grandparents and my parents both had asparagus patches.  When the season was upon us, we would all the asparagus that we could.  At that time, we couldn’t purchase asparagus in grocery departments, as it was an “oddity”.  Lucky us that not only can we now purchase asparagus during prime season, but almost any other time of the year as well!

Anyhow, on to the recipe!  Please use only fresh asparagus for this.  Frozen asparagus is sad, and canned asparagus is a travesty.

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • One to two tablespoons of virgin olive oil (if you have flavored olive oil with herbs, even better…I used Wegmans’ Basting Oil)
  • 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (depending on whether one is vegan or not)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of raw cashews
  • a large pinch of white pepper
  • salt to taste

Line a stainless steel pan with aluminum foil (for easy clean up).  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  

Meanwhile, trim the ends off of your asparagus.  The easy way is simply to “snap” off the ends of the asparagus.  If it snaps, you’ve got coarse material to discard, and a longer stem of tender asparagus to make into soup.  Now if you are lucky, and your produce manager was on the ball, they stored the asparagus with the ends soaking in water.  If the ends are still moist, and you are using a Vitamix, you probably won’t need to trim the ends at all.  Place the asparagus into a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl.

Peel the yellow onion and halve it.  Peel the garlic cloves.  Add both to the bowl with the asparagus.  Now toss the vegetables with the olive oil until coated.  Spread out the vegetable mixture in your lined stainless steel pan, and place in the oven.  Roast for 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and set aside.  In the Vitamix container, either 48 ounce or 64 ounce in size, combine your chicken or vegetable broth, thyme, cashews, and pepper.  

Cut off a few of the best “heads” of the asparagus for garnishing your soup.  Set these aside.  Place the remaining asparagus pieces, as well as the onion and garlic, into the Vitamix container.  Secure the lid and set the Variable Speed to 1.  Start the motor, and gradually ramp up the motor until you reach 10.  Set a timer for six minutes.

When the timer goes off, check your soup to make sure that it is hot.  If not, run for a couple more minutes until it is.  Taste, and salt according to taste.  Blend for a minute on Variable Speed 2 until combined.

Pour into bowls, garnish with the reserved asparagus tops, and enjoy!

Tomato Basil Soup with Quinoa


Tomato soup is one of my comfort foods, one that I will likely never get bored with, as there are so many varieties and takes on it.  This is a good recipe to fix when you’re craving rich flavor, but it’s not the height of the tomato season.

  • one large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth
  • two 15 oz. cans of fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic
  • one 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh, chopped basil
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa

Note: I used my 64 oz. Vitamix container for this entire soup.

Peel the yellow onion and cut it into quarters.  Place these and the peeled garlic cloves in your Vitamix container.  Cover with water to one to two inches above the line of the onions.  Secure the cover, and set to Variable 1.  Start the Vitamix, and process for 6 to 8 seconds.  Pour the resulting chopped onion/garlic mixture through a sieve or colander.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a frying pan, and gently saute the chopped onion and garlic mixture over low heat until the onions become translucent.  When done, remove from heat and set aside.

In the Vitamix container, combine 1-1/2 cans of the fire-roasted tomatoes, green chilies, basil, chicken broth, the reserved onion/garlic mixture, and half the quinoa.  Secure the lid, and set the Variable Speed to 1.  Start the Vitamix, and slowly raise the Variable Speed to 10.  Let process for six minutes or until the mixture is hot.

Add the remaining quinoa and the half can of tomatoes, re-secure the lid, and set the Variable Speed to 3.  Start the Vitamix and blend for 10 seconds until mixed.  Don’t process for longer, unless you want a perfectly smooth soup.  I like a smooth base with some chunky bits in mine.

Vitamix Broccoli Slaw with Curried Yogurt Dressing


There’s this deli-style restaurant at the Glendale  rest area off of the QEW; there, I used to order broccoli slaw.  It was lovely: crisp, savory, and sweet, all at the same time.  However, times change…menus change…and I haven’t seen my favorite slaw appear as one of their offerings in about three years.  Maybe it was a change in management/ownership, or perhaps my timing was just wrong.  In any case, I was slaw-free…and it wasn’t a good thing.

So, I’m starting to expand my skills with the Vitamix.  The wet-chop is now my friend, and the other day I thought, “Why not make my OWN broccoli slaw?” Yeah, why not!?

This is what I came up with.  The dressing is different, as are the ingredients, but it’s a rather tasty little concoction.  Feel free to vary the recipe to make it fit your eating lifestyle, be you vegan, paleo, vegetarian, whatever.

I shall apologize now to those people who don’t own a Vitamix.  You can certainly fix this without a Vitamix, mixing up the aioli and the dressing in a standard blender or “bullet”; you just will have to get your French chef’s knife in motion to chop up all that broccoli by hand.

Okay, here goes….let’s start with the aioli (and you might never want to buy cheap mayonnaise again)!  Yes, you WILL have leftover aioli and you MIGHT have leftover Curry Yogurt Dressing.  After tasting these, you will probably be glad that you do!  They are both great as spreads and dips, so get creative; OWN your kitchen!

Fresh Aioli

This is a standard aioli, useful for many recipes.

  • 3 large organic egg yolks
  • juice of 1-1/2 lemons (4-5 tablespoons)
  • a large pinch of sea salt
  • a large pinch of white pepper
  • 3 peeled garlic cloves (don’t use garlic that has started to “sprout”)
  • 3/4 cup light olive oil
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil

Note – I used a 48 oz. container, which has 3″ wide blades.  If you are using the new 64 ounce 4″ wide blade container, you may want to double this recipe!

Combine the two olive oils and set aside.

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and pepper in the Vitamix container.  Secure the lid, and set the machine to Variable Speed 1.  Start the Vitamix, and slowly increase the speed to 8.  Now, remove the lid’s plug, and one by one, drop in the garlic cloves. Process for 10 seconds.

Reduce the Variable Speed to 6.  Now slowly begin to dribble in the olive oils through the hole in the lid.  Continue this slow, steady stream until all the olive oil is gone.  Process the mixture until emulsified.  You will be surprised how it will quickly become thicker and creamy.

Place in a glass container and refrigerate.

Curry Yogurt Dressing

This light, yummy dressing has a multitude of uses, from green salads, to slaws, to chicken salads.  I like to keep some ready and “on hand” for when the craving strikes!

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup homemade aioli
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a pinch of freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients a small 32 oz or 48 oz Vitamix container.  Set Variable Speed to 1 and press start.  Slowly increase speed to 4; process until ingredients are smoothly combined.

Broccoli Slaw with Curry Yogurt Dressing

  • 2 broccoli “heads”, 4 broccoli “crowns”, or 1 large stalk of broccoli
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup goat cheese crumbles or feta cheese, your choice
  • 4 strips of crisp bacon
  • Curry Yogurt Dressing made with homemade Aioli (recipes follow)
  • Candied walnut or pecan bits

Wet-chop the broccoli in the Vitamix.  For this, I used the 64 oz, 4 inch blade container.  Take one broccoli head at a time, break it into larger chunks, and place it in the blender container.  Cover with enough water to cover the vegetable pieces by one to two inches.  Set the Variable Speed to 1, and turn on the Vitamix for about six seconds.  Stop the blender, and empty the blender container, pouring the contents into a strainer or colander.  This should result in a course chop.  Do this to one of the two broccoli heads, and then repeat it with the second one.  Place the broccoli bits into a large glass or stainless steel bowl.

Now for the onion.  Cut the onion into fourths, place in the blender container, and once again cover with water, one to two inches over the top of the onion.  With the Variable Speed set to 1, process for 6 seconds.  Stop and drain the onion into the colander or strainer, adding the onion to the bowl with the broccoli.

At this point, you probably have some veggie bits left in your Vitamix container.  Run some cool water into the container, and pour it right back out through the strainer.  Most of those bits will come out, and you can add them to your salad.

Add to the salad the dried cranberries, goat cheese bits, and crumbled bacon; toss lightly to combine.  Now add Curry Yogurt Dressing to your taste.  I used between 1/2 cup to one cup of dressing (depending on the size of the broccoli heads), but some people like more “sauce” to their salads than I do.  Toss again to mix.

Just prior to serving, sprinkle with the candied walnut or pecan bits.  Enjoy!