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Low Carb Cookbook Reviews                      
Recently, we've gotten many, many requests to start reviewing Low Carb Cookbooks and offering our recommendations for those worth making a part of your kitchen's collection. Below are those recommendations. We don't promise to have made all the recipes in each book, but we have made a good representative sample, as well as reviewing the other merits of the book. If you hear of a newly published one you think we should know about, drop us a note and call it to our attention. We want to hear from you if you've authored one as well!

12-03-01 - Truly Low Carb Cooking — Volume I:
By Karen M. Rysavy
Truly Low Carb Cooking - Volume I
Book Description:

  ISBN: 0-9714929-1-3
  Spiral Bound
  Clear Plastic Cover — Front & Back
  116 Pages of actual recipes
  Recipe Illustrations: On Cover Only
  Table of Contents: Yes (areas plus recipe-by-recipe)
  Index: No
  Nutrition Info Given: Partial (Carb, Fiber)

We've recently received a copy of the newest print of Karen's cookbook and have been inspired to explore more of her recipes. I want you to try her Almond Biscotti, her Cinnamon Coffee Cake and her Hearty Dark Bread. And winter's a great time to try her Lobster Bisque and Cream of Vegetable Soup!  Delish!  Here's our original review:

Karen's book is written with wit and warmth. It includes her "before and after" photos, an introduction, and recipe notes. She also personally signs each volume that goes out. The book is divided into five food/cooking categories covering everything from Appetizers to the aptly named, "Fabulous Fakes" (her category for Breads and Sweets.) The book is well organized, uses bold, clear text, and we could find no "typos". Karen's total belief and commitment to this way of eating is both evident and comforting. Gram counts for Carbohydrate as well as Fiber is given for each recipe with caveats where appropriate.

Now, onto the recipes themselves. It was recommended we try Karen's Peanut Nirvana (page 119). If you didn't like one other recipe in this book (which won't be the case!) this recipe would be worth the price of the book. It's actually relatively simple, but I can assure you, "Nirvana" is a perfectly apt title for this one. It was a favorite among many of us trying it out. And right next-door to it (in the book, that is...) is her Maple Nut Cake with Maple Nut Frosting. These are also not to be missed — the same goes for her Fried Donuts (page 110.) All her dessert recipes use Splenda exclusively.

To warm your cockles, there's a real winner in her Cream of Vegetable Soup (page 61.) Her Impossible Breakfast Pie (page 70) is one I approached with some trepidation — it didn't seem like something I'd like, but one of our testers talked me into it and I really loved it! Another useful inclusion is her recipes for two versions of homemade low-carb bake mixes to keep on-hand. Several of her recipes call for the mixture as recipe ingredients. The last one I'll mention here is her Cheese Pots (page 81.) She describes them this way: "Not a soufflé, and not a quiche, these tasty little sides have deep brown, chewy crusts and a decadent creamy middle." These are so good. If you're a cheese lover, you could get addicted to these little "pots".

There's lots more here, so buy the book and cook, cook, cook!   It's available from Amazon.

01-30-01 - Fabulous Lo Carb Cuisine
Fabulous Lo Carb Cuisine By Ruth Glick

Book Description:
  Light Street Press; ISBN: 0970629303
  125 Pages of actual recipes
  Recipe Illustrations: None
  Table of Contents: Yes (By areas - individual recipes unnumbered)
  Index: No
  Nutrition Info Given: Carbs, Protein, Calories, Fiber

Ruth Glick is an accomplished author, having worked on seventeen books in total since 1984. She has recently found low-carb and has brought the same talent and level of enthusiasm to her recent dietary enlightenment. We are the lucky benefactors of this effort, as Fabulous Lo Carb Cuisine is an excellent kitchen resource!

Ruth begins with a great introduction (she calls it "Confesions of a lo-carb cook") that explains how she arrived at low-carbing in the first place. Ruth is an excellent writer, so you'll want to read every word. She further explains her reasoning and procedures for nutritional information reporting on her recipes. Realistic portions are listed so carb counts translate well to your actual meal consumption. While she includes fiber counts, she does not automatically deduct it from the carb count. Lastly, the book is arranged exceedingly well, with creative category titles that are as appetizing as the food. Wouldn't you rather dig into "Gourmet Greens" and "Dazzling Desserts" than "Sides" and "Sweets"? Each recipe begins with a notation of sorts that offers up a story, the history of the dish, or just an extended description.

So — what did we love? Well, at this writing, we have a lot more recipes to try, but we did make a number of them that we can highly recommend. You have to try her Fruit Pizza (page 114) with Marzipan Crust (page 113)! The heavenly mix of almonds, cream cheese, and fruits is one of those dishes you continue to savor in your mind even after you've eaten it. And her Orange Almond Candy (page 105) will have you convinced you're cheating (relax, at less than 2 carbs a serving, you're safe!) Moving on to main dishes (yes, I always start with desserts), we come to Salmon Pie (page 95). Now I would never have thought to make a pie from Salmon. But this is really delicious. It serves beautifully too. It's ever-so-chic to serve salmon these days, so it would fit the bill for a dinner party or small reception. For a "homier" taste, try her Pork Chops with Sauerkraut and Tomato (page 86) or her Tangy Pot Roast with Vegetables (page 72). Missing Chinese? You'll want to try her Kung Pao Chicken (page 89). It is so good! And you can control how hot you make it (so, I'm a whimp!) For appetizers, you won't want to miss her White Pizza (page 26) or the strangely compelling Spanakopita Bake (page 16) — it's Greek — just make it. Lastly, her Cream of Tomato Soup (page 11) is better than mine (tsk, tsk) so I am switching recipes.

Ruth has created a real work of art here and you won't want to miss out on this one!   It's available at Amazon.

01-29-01 - An Angel's Helper Low Carb Cookbook
An Angel's Helper Low Carb Cookbook By Teena Brooks & Contributors from the web

Book Description:
  Plastic Spiral-Comb Bound
  Plastic Coated Covers
  58 Pages of actual recipes
  Recipe Illustrations: None
  Table of Contents: Yes (category areas only)
  Index: Yes
  Nutrition Info Given: None

Teena runs an errand and catering service in Huntsville, Alabama and her passion for low-carb cooking runs concurrent. With the help of a group of recipe donators/volunteers, she's assembled a small treasure trove of great dishes in a handy little volume easy to cart around in the kitchen.

The book is divided into seven food/cooking categories starting with Appetizers and Beverages and running through Desserts with a catch-all 'Miscellaneous' at the end. The recipes are easy to read and easy to follow.

Let's get right to our favorite recipes from this cookbook. Lora Dalton's Creme Brulee French Toast (page 50) was divine, as were the Fried Green Tomatoes (page 18) and the Cauliflower Home Fries (page 17.) We enjoyed Carol Childress' Vanilla Pecan Cookies (page 55) and Teena's own Sesame Chicken (page 42.)

There are a few drawbacks to the book, but we didn't find them to be so important as to withhold our recommendation. There are no carb counts on any recipes, so you'll need a gram counter handy. The book does contain ads, but I'm sure they helped defray the printing costs of this self-published volume and they are only at front and back of book (and very unobstrusive.) There are a few recipes I recognized that are not properly credited (Terry Huey's Cilantro Cream Chicken and my own Corn Bread recipe), but I'm sure as things get passed around on the web, their original developers' credits get lost.

All in all, still a very handy book and definitely worth having.

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