Have you ever had one of those weeks where you have so much to do and such a long mental list rolling around in your head that you leave your apartment, are walking down the street and suddenly think, "I'm wearing pants, right? I didn't forget to put on my pants. Whew." That was me this week.
My top priorities were tweaking my original recipe along with those of my extension products, arranging my collage for the Brand Exploration, story boarding our crowd-funding campaign, and getting the Mei & Mo story down in written form.
I went into the week thinking the story boarding would stress me out the most, but it turned out to the be one of the tasks I felt most satisfied with when we finished. Mo and I got a short and sweet script down that we felt conveyed our story and inspiration pretty well. The Brand Exploration collage was a lot of fun. I'm glad I can finally justify the precious time I'd whittled away in the past on Pinterest because all of the pictures I've collected served me well for this project.
Ironically, the thing I like to do most, recipe testing, has been the source of my stress. There is something missing from my original recipe--an element of brightness, an umami taste that I can't quite put my finger on. It's really frustrating! I have dried ground porcini mushrooms (this might be too earthy and muddy tasting in its dry form, but once cooked it would be amazing), ground kombu seaweed (I think too ocean-y tasting for the spices), and nutritional yeast (a nice, almost chicken-y flavor) to play with. Mo and I joked that the secret ingredient that the street vendors in Flushing probably use for Xinjiang-style skewers is probably MSG. I was trying to find a high quality, healthy ingredient that would mimic what MSG does, hence the ingredients above with which to experiment. Raise your hand if you have an Asian mom that uses Accent in her cooking. It's something I've never used, but I do think it gets a worse rap that it deserves. MSG is a non-essential amino acid that occurs naturally. Again, I wouldn't ever use an additive like that, but I don't think it's exactly the "silent killer" it's touted to be. Plus, would I ever fly in the face of my Natural Gourmet Institute education? Never! My instructors and classmates would balk.
As far as my extension products--I'd been working on a sweet version of Weeger Spice. Chrissy suggested making my own brown sugar with Pomegranate molasses. Making my own brown sugar was something I never bothered to do before. I'm more of a savory over sweets girl and when I do need a sweetener I use maple syrup or Sucanat, as they're less refined. But, I have to say after mixing organic white sugar with molasses, I'm going to fall off the health wagon because I want to eat it with a spoon now.
Until next week... a luta continua (the struggle continues... with my spice tweaking).