June has probably been the most eventful month for me. Before going through all these photos I felt like I didn't do much this month that was worth while with the few exceptions of when I went out with the besties. This month was filled with a number of firsts in my life! I hope I can keep this up for the rest of my summer if I really do end up not being able to find a summer job.
The [kinda] artsy fartsy photos first!
Our bathroom mirror was replaced in the beginning of the month because the original one was damaged the first time around. I wasn't trying to do anything artsy...really! I just wanted to take some photos as a keepsake since this is probably the first and only time I'll ever see all this glass/mirror shattered. heh I'm weird...I know!
Speaking of dinner parties, one of my mom's friends brought over this very pretty cake. Apparently these types of cakes are very expensive, particularly due to all the fruit? It tasted alright. I'm still not a big fan of the Chinese bakery's fruit cakes. But a fruity outer layer is definitely better than the standard whipped cream one.
Lunch at Cha Chan Tang in Chinatown
More guilty pleasures...!
My favorite froyo combos. Greentea with brown bites, graham crackers, watermelon, mango, and mochi bits. Not the healthiest but that's why it's an indulgence!
I tried this fish shaped ice cream for the first time. I've seen similar ones in k-dramas and thought they looked cute. But the real thing wasn't very enjoyable. The fish shell was just a normal ice cream cone in a fish shape. The bad part was...it was a soft ice cream cone. Ugh. I absolutely despise soft and hard to bite off ice cream cone. The actual ice cream portion and red bean was just average. Eh..now I know better! :X
The ULTIMATE highs of my June was definitely...a Raymond Lam concert and having a Manhattan outing with the besties.
I have a very small number of friends that I am very close with (yet we still have a lot to learn about each other). Since besties and I don't go out often, we ran out of (well more like we do not know of any more) ideas to do for our hangouts. Most of our outings are usually just for half a day, but we recently planned an entire day outing for the first time.
After biking we walked from Central Park (maybe 50th or 55th street) down to St.Marks (9th Street) for dinner. Number-wise it seems like a lot of walking, but when you're with friends and trying to cool down from a biking workout (if you can call it that) the distance doesn't seem that bad. Especially when you stop by stores and walk around. Then again, this is coming from a New Yorker who is used to walking. Definitely not a day for anything but comfy shoes! We had dinner at a Japanese BBQ place called Yakiniku. It is very similar to Korean BBQ. I think the difference is just the way the meat is prepared/marinated? I'm not too sure because I've only done Korean BBQ once before. Dinner was more exciting than I thought. Mostly because some of the meats we chose had some fat and it ended up setting little flames/flares. We had our own little fire show at our table! haha The beef was delicious and definitely worth going back. If anyone else wants to go I recommend going on Mondays or Tuedays because of their special. Certain cuts of meat are cheaper. (Before a 6PM they also have a Happy Hour special.) We ordered 10 plates of meat (1 was a combo, 2 were regularly priced, and the rest were the special priced) and it came out to a total of just $25 each (including tip) for 4 people. We probably could have gotten more but we felt like they'd look at us four girls weird for calling so many plates of meat! It was a lot less expensive than we expected. The only complaint I guess would be the small portions of meat. Each plate had about 8-10 pieces, whether it was regular price or special. It kind of forces bigger groups to order a lot. If meat isn't your thing but you're with a group, they also have other dishes that they prepare as do your normal restaurant but I'm not too sure if there were any vegetarian dishes, I wasn't looking closely at the other pages of the menu book.
Onto the kitchen highlights of the month...
Nothing too special. Just blended watermelon! In chinese it's called 西瓜冰 or watermelon ice if translated literally. Not really a smoothie since it doesn't have any milk in it. Is there a more correct English term that I just can't think of? Anyways! I LOVE watermelon, but I just don't like the seeds. Even those small white ones that are okay to eat. Since I had my Magic Bullet out already anyways, I decided to just blend the fruit up and drink it...it definitely took care of the seed problem hehe~
After watching maangchi's makkalbi 막갈비 recipe on youtube I really wanted to try it! Especially since it wasn't a spicy recipe (my family can't handle spicy), I could boldly ask my mom to make it. She finally bought the ingredients when we were stuck inside a supermarket due to a sudden rain shower. I just didn't catch the part where she wanted me to cook it until we got home. I've never handled raw meat before because I cannot stand all the blood and soft squishiness. But since the only way I could try makkalbi was if I made it and in order to not waste the ingredients we bought, I had to suck it up and make the dish. It didn't turn out bad at all. Even without a food processor or blender, my little Magic Bullet did the blending trick! In the end, the meat wasn't as tender as I thought it would be but that could also be because the cut of short rib we got was a little different than what maangchi used in her recipe.
Ever since I've been home and watching Food Network shows, I keep having a cooking and baking itch. Then after having the macarons from Laduree and seeing just how expensive those were, I youtubed some How-To videos. I saw one from yoyomax12 for Earl Grey Tea Macarons and thought the process didn't look too difficult. So off I went to the grocery store to buy some ingredients. The recipe calls for almond flour/ground almonds, but the supermarket didn't have anything but whole or chopped almonds. I did the next best thing and grounded the nuts myself with my Magic Bullet. (No I am not sponsored by Magic Bullet...it is what I have at home and it worked for what I didn't expect it to so I am mentioning it!) The process was a little nerve-wrecking because apparently over blending the almonds would make it almond butter and under blending would give big chunks of almond which is no good for this recipe. Just sifting and blending the nuts took at least an hour...Everything else after that was much easier than I expected.
On Saturday morning I woke up early to bake these little sugary treats. The first batch of macaron cookies I made turned out average...many were under parr. I used wax paper to line my trays and the cookies stuck to the wax paper and the wax paper stuck to the tray...it was a huge mess. Just trying to get the macarons off the wax paper was a pain because they were so delicate and so easy to crack! A lot of the macarons ended up ripping from its base/feet and it was just a pile of empty shells (what is shown in the lower left). The left batch was actually what the macarons were suppose to look like color-wise and the right batch was baked for too long and turned brownish. I was so disappointed with how they turned out so I decided to ground some more almonds to make another batch that afternoon. Talk about being impatient and a perfectionist hah!
For the second attempt I was actually going for a red but it became a pink instead. I was weary of adding too much liquid to the batter so I didn't add more food coloring (maybe next time). Compared to batch number 1, I mixed a little less and the batter was just slightly thicker. The circles of batter held their shapes much better this time around...which is a good sign! I also tried to bake these on aluminum foil and let me tell anyone who plans to try this at home...DO NOT USE IT! You will not be able to remove the macarons at all...At least on wax paper if you're slow and steady enough you can rip the wax paper from the bottom of the macarons. Also I recommend bake these in the middle of the oven so it doesn't get burned/browned easily. I actually made all of these in a little toaster oven!
I think for a first timer and someone who hasn't really ever baked from scratch...these macarons came out pretty well! Maybe I'll try a more complicated recipe next time when I can actually get a hold of a BAG of almond FLOUR and not have to ground almonds myself xD
How was your June?
I'm sure they were probably more fun and interesting than mine was though! These were just a handle full of days out of the whole month :X
Does anyone have any suggestions for any more hangout ideas? lol
Do share! I'd love to hear :]