Today is the birthday of one of my closest friends, Deni.  We’ve known each other since university and even had our first “real jobs” near each other (I was working for the State House while she was working for the Governor).  She’s driven, she’s incredibly smart and she’s one of the most sincere people I’ve ever known.  She gets involved in causes and really does try to make the world a better place.  Best of all, she’s an amazing, caring friend.

Unfortunately, now an ocean separates us so we don’t have the great chats we used to have where you talk about everything and nothing at all.  Thanks to Facebook, we’re able to keep up on an almost daily basis, which is great – particularly now that she’s a dog-owner and we can compare stories.  It is almost as good as when we shared a house in Washington, DC – but without the squabbling that comes from being housemates!  If we were in the same city, I’d have her around for a special tomato-free birthday dinner.

Yes.  You heard me right – one of my oldest and dearest friends hates tomatoes.  And what’s more – she’s a vegetarian!  I mean!!  At any rate, this is for her – a tomato-free vegetarian recipe for her birthday.  So, happy birthday, Deni – love ya, sweetie!!  Hope you have a wonderful year!!

Roasted Beet Soup

  • 8-10 beets (about the size of a plum), trimmed and quartered
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and papper
  • 1 large yellow onion, trimmed, peeled and diced
  • good pinch dried thyme
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Take the beets that have been trimmed and quartered, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cover with foil and roast for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool, still covered, for another 20 minutes or so.  While the beets are cooling, heat a little olive oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat then saute the onions until translucent.  When the beets are cool enough to handle, use a paper towel to rub off the skins, then pop them into the pot.  Add the vegetable stock and thyme, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the beets are soft.  Use a blender to puree until smooth and return to the pot.  Adjust for salt and pepper, then serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.