An unusual combination of vegetables and spices makes a great winter soup, this is based on recipe from outoftheordinaryfood.com.
Steam or boil 3-4 beets until just tender enough to peel. Soak in water to cool, then peel and cut 2 of them into small pieces (reserve the others for future use)
Trim 1 leek and clean it well. Mince it finely until you have 1 C. Heat 2 T. olive oil in a soup pot and saute the leeks until soft.
Mince 1 clove of garlic and add to the pot with 1/2 t. crushed fennel seeds, 1 t. basil and 1 t. thyme (both dried). Cut 1 head of cauliflower into small pieces and add to the pot with 1/4 t. salt.
Saute until the cauliflower begins to brown, then add the beets along with 1/4 C. white wine and 1 t. smoked paprika. Cook until the wine evaporates, then add water to completely cover the vegetables (about 4 C.). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add 1 t. balsamic vinegar and 1 T. butter, then puree in small batches and return to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with garlicky sauteed greens (below).