Ain’t it purdy?

Okay, I’m going on a weird tangent right off the bat… Wanna come along? I chose this title for the post mostly because I like alliteration but also because creating beautiful food that also tastes delicious is a lovely aspiration – and still a wonderment for me because I can usually nail one aspect then fall short on the other. Generally speaking, my food tastes pretty good but ain’t so fair of face. I guess I’d rather it go like that, though I challenge myself to strike the balance on both. BUT… The title really popped a totally different thought into my head:

Oddments and Tweeks

Where did that come from? Thanks to Mr. Google, I know our dear pal Ms. Rowling is responsible for that (along with Nitwit and Blubber), beginning in Book 1 of the Harry Potter series. According to a quick search, the Oddment part refers to Slytherin and Tweek to Hufflepuff. I’ll let you do your own research and drawn your own conclusions if you’re so inclined.

I like the way they sound together… Oddment and Tweek. And I think there’s a cooking analogy here: we often use the odd, leftover bit of something or many somethings to create something scrumptious on its own, tweaking a tried-and-true recipe here and there depending on what we happen to have on hand. It’s really the essence of home cooking – making your food uniquely part of YOU!

So… I couldn’t have bought a thought as coherent as anything above when I was actually in the kitchen cooking this last night. I got the quinoa cooked with relative ease but everything devolved from there. The eight-year-old came home from playing and I had to crack the whip on him to do his homework, walking him painstakingly through each step as he yawned at me and threatened to tear up (a clear, non-verbal “back-off, Mommy”) while the three-year-old did his best impression of a thirteen-year-old PMSing girl… Burst out crying that I was “angry at him” when I told him he couldn’t have his hot dog yet (because it was still too hot for him to eat, for crying out loud… and boy, was it loud!).

I thought I would have, in the end, two recipes to share. I was really keen on that idea because it would have been like a two-fer: Almost all the same ingredients, one prep session, lots of leftovers. In my book, that’s just about perfection! Alas, it’s more like one and a half… And half a recipe doesn’t really translate so well, so I’ll outline it but you’re on your own if you choose to stumble along the path with me.

So there was my disclaimer; here’s my caveat: you can just make a bigger pot of soup if you want to use all the ingredients. Add water or chicken stock or a second box of potato leek soup as it suits you. You’ll see what I mean.

Pretty ingredients, all in a row.

Quinoa Corn Soup and Quinoa Corn Muffins*

(*partial recipe – proceed at your own risk)

1 cup quinoa (uncooked) – I mixed 1/2 c white and 1/2 c red
2 ears corn
1 small sweet onion
1 jalapeno
1 box of Imagine Potato Leek Soup
Seasonings to taste – I used salt, Nature’s Seasonings and an Adobo mix from Fresh Market

Rinse the quinoa then add to 2 cups of water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stir a couple times then turn down to the lowest setting and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed.

While quinoa is cooking, dice the onion and the jalapeno (keep the seeds if you like it spicier – I did not this time) and slice the corn off the cob. Mix all three together in a large mixing bowl then add the cooked quinoa, stirring well to mix and add seasonings. Taste test and be aware that the Potato Leek soup is fairly bland on its own. The quinoa will begin to cook the veggies just a little; that’s fine.

Really? The ingredients are so simple and fresh, it’s pretty much edible at this point. Yum!

Pour the boxed soup into the quinoa pot and begin heating it. Once it’s warmed a bit, mix about half the quinoa veggie mixture in IF YOU’RE MAKING BOTH RECIPES. Otherwise, make sure you’ve got enough liquid to handle the whole batch of quinoa veggies.

So the bowl is half eaten… It was delicious and I was really quite famished.

With what’s left of the quinoa veggies, if you’re brave enough, mix in two beaten eggs once the quinoa has cooled a bit (otherwise the eggs will cook up too quickly). Oil a cupcake pan well and press a generous amount of the quinoa-veggie-egg mixture tightly into each cup, overfilling them above the top just a bit so they’ll look like muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25-30 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Wow… That second part sounds like a whole recipe, doesn’t it? Here’s why it’s not really: I couldn’t get the darn things out of the muffin cup in one piece. Oh, sure, here’s a pretty picture of one:

Food styling at its, erm, decent-est?

But I totally faked it. They tasted fine – the hubby had three for dinner and I had two for breakfast, but I think they need some tweaks. And maybe the addition of some shredded potatoes. And maybe some bacon. Because everything’s better with bacon, right?