Several months ago, I treated myself to an early 40th birthday present and got an iPod touch. I admit, that was partly because Jamie got one for Christmas and I saw how cool they are and wanted my own. (And then I followed that up by treating myself to an iPad 2 once I got my annual bonus.) I'm still on the hunt for good apps, both for cooking & baking and other stuff. Several of my twitter friends introduced me to Words with Friends, which I really enjoy. Brianna, of course, has been looking for any excuse to get her hands on my iPod, so she kept asking if she could help me with my games. I finally gave in and let her play her own game against Jamie. It's always interesting when she asks me about the meaning of some of the words that he plays. Being of sound mind, I put a dictionary on my iPod, too, so now she can just look things up for herself. She also likes to do the math to figure out how many points she'll get for a particular play. For those who currently have games going with me, I have to admit that B has been playing some of my turns against you, too. =)
Gillian has her own word thing going on. She's at that age where she hears things but doesn't always understand them. It's often quite entertaining when she repeats what she thinks she's heard. I'm sure many of you have heard young kids singing, for instance. One of my all-time favorites was listening to G singing Bon Jovi--"You give love a bandaid, bandaid!" Lately, though, she seems to be saying things to see what she can get away with. I had to have a conversation with her the other night after she and B were in the bathroom, and I heard her tell B to "get off the freakin' step!" (We keep step stools in all the bathrooms.) And it was all I could do to keep a straight face one night when I heard her say something under her breath when she was mad about something I asked her to do. I wasn't sure if I'd heard her right, so I asked her to repeat what she'd said. She hesitated, and then told me "Bandit!"
Sometimes there are interesting words in cooking and baking, too. When I got my most recent issue of Bon Appetit, a couple things caught my eye. One was the assortment of frozen desserts--I have my eye on the Peach-Vanilla Cream Pops, but that will be another post. The other, which was the first thing I made from the issue, was the Strawberry Conserve. Conserve--that's a term you don't hear all that often. I looked up a definition for it, which was "a sweet food made by preserving fruit with sugar; jam." The article says that since the recipe doesn't use commercial pectin, you end up with "a conserve of soft berries in a barely set syrup." The conserve is pretty easy to make and gave me a great excuse to buy some pretty half-pint canning jars. I doubled the recipe, which gave me 4 small jars of strawberry syrupy stuff. Basically, you macerate strawberries with sugar and lemon zest. Then you cook the strawberries briefly to soften them, and then remove the strawberries and simmer the liquid until it thickens into a syrup.
The verdict? Well, I've made two double batches so far, and if I can get my hands on some more good strawberries, I'll probably make some more. It'll last for about a month in the fridge, so hopefully I can enjoy some strawberry goodness for a lot of the summer. I was surprised by how wonderful the conserve was, especially since it had such a simple ingredient list. We've had it over pound cake and on top of ice cream. I even made my own fruit-at-the-bottom yogurt by topping it with some plain Brown Cow. If you find yourself with a surplus of strawberries, I recommend giving this recipe a try. You can find the recipe here at Bon Appetit.