Spicy Clams √

Serves 8.

Note: Inspired by a recipe from Tommaso Terracciano, owner of Pasquales Rigoletto in New York City, from the film, "American Hustle."

4 1/2 lb. small hard-shelled clams such as littlenecks

1 c. dry white wine, such as pinot grigio

3 tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 small sweet onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped

• 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 (28- oz.) can San Marzano Italian chopped tomatoes in juice, or 3 1/2 c. fresh plum tomatoes skinned and chopped

• 1 tsp. dried oregano

• 1 tsp. orange zest

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 c. flat finely chopped flat leaf parsley

• Parsley sprigs for garnish

About 1 tsp. lemon juice, or more if needed


Rinse clams in several changes of cold water. Scrub with a stiff brush. Discard any that are open.

Pour wine into a heavy pan large enough to hold the clams. Bring to a boil and then reduce by half. Add clams, cover and cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until clams open. Remove from heat; discard any clams that are not open. Strain the cooking liquid (reserving liquid) through a chinois or a strainer lined with a coffee filter. Set liquid aside in separate bowl.

In a large, wide skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion or shallots, sauté until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and juice, oregano, orange zest and liquid from the clams. Add salt and pepper, bring to simmer and cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir clams into the tomato sauce and heat through. Serve in wide soup bowls. Sprinkle with parsley. Drizzle with olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 120 Fat 6 g Sodium 55 mg

Carbohydrates 8 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 64 mg

Protein 8 g Cholesterol 15 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, ½ fat.

Peach Pie √

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: From Gil Marks, culinary historian, with "Labor Day" influence.

Double-crust pastry for 9-inch pie

2 tbsp. melted apricot or raspberry jam or 1 lightly beaten egg white

6 c. (about 3 lb.) peaches, peeled and cut into 1/2-in.-thick slices

• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

• About 1 c. sugar

1/4 c. all-purpose flour or quick-cooking tapioca

• 1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 to 1 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tbsp. minced crystallized ginger

• 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 lightly beaten egg white and sugar, for topping


Position rack in lower third of oven and place a baking sheet on the rack. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

On a lightly floured piece of wax paper or flat surface, roll out 2/3 of dough to a 12-inch round about 1/8-inch thick. Fold into half or quarters and fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press into pan. Trim excess dough against rim of pan. Brush with jam or egg white.

Toss peaches with lemon juice. Combine sugar, flour or tapioca, salt, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add fruit, tossing to evenly coat. If using tapioca, let stand for 15 minutes.

Layer peach mixture in pastry shell, mounding in center.

Roll out remaining 1/3 dough to about a 10-inch round. Arrange top crust over filling, trimming excess to 1/2 inch beyond rim of pan. Fold bottom dough over top crust and crimp edges to seal. Cut several slits in top of crust to vent steam. If desired, lightly brush egg wash over crust and sprinkle with additional sugar. Cover edges with foil.

Place pie on preheated baking sheet and bake until upper crust begins to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, remove foil, and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 35 minutes. Place on wire rack and let cool. If used within a day, store at room temperature.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 380 Fat 11 g Sodium 260 mg

Carbohydrates 66 g Saturated fat 5 g Calcium 16 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 fruit, 1 ½ bread/starch, 2 other carb, 2 fat.

Molasses Baked Kidney Beans √

Serves 12.

Note: Beans so good they're worth crying for. Inspired by the spilled beans of "August Osage County." From Beverly Levitt.

• 2 onions, coarsely chopped

• Olive oil, as needed for sautéing

• 9 garlic cloves, pressed

1 jalapeño chile, roasted, peeled and seeds removed

• 1 c. carrots, coarsely chopped

• 1 c. celery, coarsely chopped

2 tsp. crushed cumin seeds, or ground cumin

• 1 tsp. dried thyme

• 1 tsp. dried coriander

• Salt and pepper to taste

• 4 c. red kidney beans, cooked

• 1 to 2 tbsp. blackstrap molasses


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté onions in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes, until wilted. Add garlic, chile, carrots, celery, cumin, thyme, coriander, salt and pepper. Cook 8 minutes more.

Add beans, 1/2 cup hot water and molasses, and transfer to 2-quart casserole. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until flavors are thoroughly blended.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 230 Fat 3 g

Sodium 23 mg Sat. fat 0 g

Carbs 38 g Calcium 74 mg

Protein 13 g Chol 0 mg

Dietary fiber 10 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2 bread/starch, 1 lean meat.

Pineapple Coconut Gelatin Mold √

Serves 6 to 8.

Note: Inspired by "Nebraska." From Beverly Levitt.

• 1 tbsp. unflavored gelatin

• 1/2 c. sugar

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1 1/2 c. orange juice

• 1/4 c. lemon juice

1 1/2 c. crushed pineapple, drained

• 1/4 c. flaked coconut

2 tbsp. chopped pistachio nuts, optional


Mix gelatin, sugar and salt together thoroughly.

Heat orange juice until very hot but not boiling. Add to gelatin mixture. Stir until gelatin is thoroughly dissolved.

Chill mixture until partly thickened. Add lemon juice, pineapple, coconut and pistachios. Turn into a 3-cup mold or individual molds and chill until firm.

Nutrition information per each of 8 servings:

Calories 110 Fat 1 g

Sodium 83 mg Sat. fat 1 g

Carbs 25 g Calcium 13 mg

Protein 1 g Chol 0 mg

Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ fruit, 1 other carb.