Martha Stewart Living's Baked Stuffed Red Peppers
Gramercy Tavern's Littleneck Clam Chowder With Bok Choy and New Potatoes

Minted Beets and an Admission


Dear readers, I have been humbled. After being somewhat scornful of the roasted peppers I made last night, I had some cooled to room temperature for lunch. And what had seemed bland and a bit forgettable yesterday was concentrated and delicious today. It's not exactly rocket science that leftovers (when not chilled to tooth-aching temperatures) often taste better than freshly prepared dishes, but nevertheless I crossed these off the list too quickly, without giving them fair shakes. So, mea culpa. My advice to you is to make these after work for a picnic the next day! They do seem like ideal food for an al fresco meal, wedged between some crusty bread that has sopped up the deeply flavored juices.

And while we're on the subjects of picnics (and warm weather fare in general, I suppose), I have to share with you one of my favorite discoveries of the summer: the combination of beets and mint. I like to boil beets until they're tender (you could also wrap them in foil and roast), then peel off the thin skins when they've cooled. The pink and stripey beets above are Chioggia beets. I toss the little nuggets with chopped fresh mint, a delicately flavored olive oil (or if it's around, walnut oil), and a few drops of sherry vinegar. Don't forget a light sprinkling of salt. Sweet beets, faintly pungent mint, a nicely astringent dressing: not only do the flavors really work together, this salad is assembled in no time at all.