George Stella's Livin' Low Carb
has little in common with diet books: In fact, it's got more in common with a cookbook you might have bought for yourself when you first moved out on your own. The style is casual and approachable, with no tense lists of diet-related details or overly-complex recipes, and cooking techniques require little more than a working stove and a frying pan.
George Stella (along with pastry chef-wife Rachel) have developed a wide range of recipes designed to compliment Atkins and other low-carb diet regimens. Rather than relying on packaged convenience foods that meet these dietary standards, they focus on home-cooked meals that satisfy the demands of low carb life without tasting like they were baked up in a factory. Flavors include Chinese (Szechuan stir-fry), Italian-American (clams casino), Southern (fried chicken), and American sweets (chocolate chip muffins and no-bake Key lime cheesecake). Snacks, salads, entrees, and desserts all see equal amounts of attention.
There's a heavy reliance on the sugar substitute Splenda, but in general this is real food for daily life. The condiment chapter contains homemade versions of ketchup, mustard sauce, barbecue sauce and even Thousand Island dressing, and makes a simple place to get started even if the only kitchen appliance you're comfortable with is a can opener. Each recipe clearly notes "special equipment" (like 8-inch square pans) as well as the yield, net carbs per serving, and separate times needed for prepping and cooking.
Because of the sugar substitute and number of recipes that alter classics in ways that compromise traditional textures in favor of lowering carbs (such as noodle-free lasagna), the book is most likely to be used by dieters, rather than all home cooks. Still, if you're looking for easy ways to tinker with your food intake that doesn't involve packaged mixes from the diet industry, Stella offers plenty of tasty options. --Jill Lightner
From Publishers Weekly
The low-carb diet may be a popular fad, but for Stella (host of Food Networks Low Carb and Lovin It) its a permanent way of life. By the time he was 40, Stella weighed 467 lbs. and was suffering from congestive heart failure. On a whim, he and his wife decided to try eating a diet low in carbs. Much to their surprise, they both began losing weight while eating things they used to think were off-limits (like bacon, eggs and real butter). Stella never looked back after that. As a great food lover and professional chef, he wanted to make low-carb foods enjoyable and knew he had the ability to do so. Through much trial and error, he came up with what are now his favorite recipes, compiled in his very own cookbook. First, he explains his food plan, playfully stressing that he is a chef, not a doctor. He lists seven simple rules for following the plan, and then delves into his recipes. Each one has a personal introduction, and most also include helpful "Cooks Tips" and useful inside info (like which brand names he prefers for certain recipes). Stellas enthusiastic, friendly style is enticing, just like his food, and his recipes reflect his lively personality, making them doubly appetizing. Anyone who fears the dreaded diet deprivation will be delighted to find recipes such as Bald Calzone, Low-Carb Pizza, Georges Gorgeous Macadamia Banana Muffins and Stella Style New York Ricotta Cheesecake. Equally delightful is his claim that "when youre low-carbing Stella Style, you dont have to quit eating until youre full."
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