Today’s news:

WHAT’S COOKING

Two new books by Park Slopers arrive with simple recipes and interesting food-facts

for The Brooklyn Paper

Park Slope authors Rozanne Gold and Arthur Schwartz have recently published two very different cookbooks. Gold’s "Low Carb 1-2-3: The Low-Calorie, Low-Carbohydrate Cookbook" offers easy-to-follow, three-ingredient recipes that make counting carbs a breeze. Schwartz’s "New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes" takes the reader through a delicious New York-style culinary adventure.

If you’ve made a New Year’s resolution to cut carbs but need guidance, turn to Gold’s "Low Carb 1-2-3."

What makes her just-published book different from the slew of low-carb/low-cal tomes crowding bookstore shelves, are dishes that a novice can prepare with ease while at the same time tasting too luxurious to be considered diet food.

Gold, who tests recipes for her books in her home kitchen, originated the three-ingredient "keep it simple" approach with her eight "1-2-3" cookbooks. (Three won the James Beard Book Award; one was awarded the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook award.) In her ninth book she’s assembled 225 recipes that are simultaneously low in carbs, calories and saturated fat, and each recipe is trans-fat free.

Every dish is assigned a total carb count - VLC-very low carb (0 to 5 grams); LC-low carb (6 to 10 grams); and ILC-indulgent low carb (11 to 18 grams). At the bottom of every page is an easy-to-read chart with all of the information a dieter needs including fiber, total fat and saturated fat counts, protein and calories. Not a single recipe tops 399 calories.

"After the low-carb revolution, comes the revelation," Gold told GO Brooklyn.

The revelation?

"It’s possible to use ingredients like butter and cream in moderation, and still create dishes that are nutritionally sound, low in carbs and saturated fat, and taste wonderful," she said. Gold proves her claim with sophisticated dishes, many with ingredients considered taboo by low-carb and low calorie proponents.

Take Gold’s "Sweet Garlic-Fennel Soup." For this garlicky, anise-tinged dish, Gold substitutes half-and-half for heavy cream, creating a texture that is every bit as velvety as a full fat version. One serving weighs in at 135 calories - and it’s low in carbs.

"Lemon Chicken with Chorizo" pairs the spicy sausage with the tang of the fruit and moist chicken thigh meat. A company dish if there ever was one, it hits 393 calories per serving with a total carb count of 9.19.

Anyone following a low-carb diet, or merely looking for simple recipes with healthy, deeply flavored results, should add "Low-Carb 1-2-3" to their bookshelves.

Arthur eats New York

The Big Apple’s self-proclaimed "food maven," Arthur Schwartz, has penned a new cookbook - "New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes."

In the introduction of his book, published in November, Schwartz writes, "I like to say I was born with a wooden spoon in my mouth." He then traverses the city and its boroughs to offer his reader a taste. You’ll want to dig into this entertaining and comprehensive book that serves as a culinary as well as a social history of the city.

The book begins with "What the Indians Ate," then takes the reader to the docks of the city’s salty seaports "teaming with oysters, scallops and clams," and right up to the tables of great restaurants like Manhattan’s Delmonico’s and Grand Central Oyster Bar and Sheepshead Bay’s Lundy’s.

The culinary contributions of different ethnic groups are covered in essays titled "When Did Bagels Meet Lox?" and "Why Jews Like Chinese Food" included in the "The Jews" section, and "What Street Compares with Mott Street" under "The Chinese" heading.

The book concludes with a roundup of famous native or adopted New Yorkers who changed the country’s dining landscape. (A photo of Rozanne Gold, then 24-years-old and former Mayor Ed Koch’s live-in chef, is included.)

Throughout the book are nostalgic recipes beloved by New Yorkers, and many favorites specific to Brooklynites such as Lundy’s clam chowder and fluffy baking powder biscuits; "Blackout Cake" based on the rich chocolate creation filled and frosted with chocolate pudding from the famous Ebinger’s bakery in Flatbush and a recipe for the cheesecake from Downtown Brooklyn’s Junior’s, that Schwartz writes, "makes an even better cake than the one you can buy there, as great as that may be."

The instructions for each dish range from simple to more involved, but a home cook with some kitchen experience can follow the most complex of the recipes.

The affection Schwartz feels for his native borough is evident in passages like this one where he paints a picture of an evening at Nathan’s in Coney Island, sometime in the late 1950s:

"One of my most vivid childhood memories is the crush of people trying to buy hot dogs and french fries at Nathan’s. In the days before ubiquitous air-conditioning, when everyone migrated to the beach for relief from the heat, thousands of people - no exaggeration - would crowd the deep sidewalk on Neptune Avenue, trying to muscle up to the outdoor counter to put in their order. They screamed, pushed and fought over their position in the throng.

"’Eight well-done, with four fries!’ I can hear them now."

Readers should turn to Gold’s book to cut their (body) fat, and Schwartz’s to chew it. Whether purchased individually or in tandem, these well-written tomes are keepers.


"Low Carb 1-2-3: The Low-Calorie, Low-Carbohydrate Cookbook" by Rozanne Gold with Helen Kimmel, M.S., R.D. (Rodale, $16.95) and "New York City Food: An Opinionated History and More Than 100 Legendary Recipes" by Arthur Schwartz (Stewart Tabori & Chang, $45) are available at, or can be ordered through, The Bookmark Shoppe [6906 11th Ave. at 69th Street in Dyker Heights (718) 680-3680], BookCourt [163 Court St. at Dean Street in Cobble Hill, (718) 875-3677] and Barnes & Noble [267 Seventh Ave. at Sixth Street in Park Slope, (718) 832-9066].

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