I enjoy trying new recipes. If I had my way, that’s what I would do for a living. But since there’s not a lot of positions available for a self-trained cook/recipe-tester, I guess I’ll have to finish my ConLaw reading…

This weekend, I tried two different recipes: an Apple-Ginger Oat Bran muffin from an old issue of Fitness, and a black bean and couscous salad from CookingLight. The first recipe intrigued me: it called for nearly no fat. Fat binds baked goods together–and it does such a tasty job, particularly when you use butter. Mmm. This recipe called for 2% milk (which I didn’t have) and extra light olive oil.

Frankly, even if I used 2% milk instead of nonfat, this muffin still would have tasted blah. It was soft, moist…but just lacked any sort of flavor. I’ve made other light muffins that end up with the same calorie count (around 150) that are much more flavorful. There’s a Cran-apple muffin I’ll post another time that is delicious. But these just didn’t hit the spot.

The other recipe is good: perfect for packing in lunches, and it survived several ingredient swaps that happened because I just wasn’t paying attention: “No rice vinegar? Uh…sure, I’ll just use that white wine vinegar instead! Red bell peppers are $2 a piece!? Green will be just as tasty.” I’m not going to run out and buy rice vinegar to make this again, though. It’s good, but it’s not one of those recipes that I can’t wait to make again. Good things about this recipe: large serving size (2 cups), lots of fiber, easy and quick. Despite that, I’ll be making my curry chicken pitas for the rest of the week–if I can just remember to cook the chicken tonight!

As part of spring cleaning, I have been going through my old issues of Self and Fitness, tearing out recipes. I have a gnocchi and shrimp dish I hope to make this weekend. Let’s hope it turns out better than those muffins!