Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I moved my blog!

I moved my blog! This ole blogger blog was breaking a lot, and Blogger wouldn't let me update the analytics, and then I broke the layout somehow. I got tired of dealing with the fact that Blogger never fixed it, so I moved to Wordpress.

New address is:

It still looks a little weird, but I'm confident we'll all survive this move. So update your RSS feeds, bookmarks and brains!

If you need convincing why you should start following me on Wordpress, my first new post is about a beach we went to in Hawaii. A nude beach. That's right, nude.

I'll see you at Wordpress, y'all.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I'm not dead

I'm not dead, really. But I went to Maui last week, and I'm going to a conference this week, and I somehow managed to break my blog and cannot fix it right now. So it's broken, which doesn't matter because I have no time to blog right now. But I will. Soon. Because I went to Maui and it was awesome! And I must tell you about it. But later.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Man, I used to be funny

Here's a story: my senior year of college, I was looking for a job. A job in New York. I wanted, more than anything, to work at Entertainment Weekly. I worshiped Entertainment Weekly. So much that I threw all of my dignity out the window, and wrote the ballsiest cover letter I've ever written.

Because of this cover letter, and my persistence, and the fact that I called everyone at Entertainment Weekly begging for an interview, I did indeed get an interview. I was going to New York anyway to interview at a different company, and someone at EW agreed to meet me.

I was beyond excited. I was going to actually achieve my dream.

Well, it didn't happen. They called the morning of the interview and canceled, and I didn't get the other job either. I wound up staying in San Antonio, getting a job here, meeting John, getting another job, marrying John, buying a house, getting two dogs, the whole nine yards. It worked out, that I never got that job at Entertainment Weekly.

I ran across that cover letter I sent them, and I thought I'd share it with you. I think it pretty well encapsulates my sense of humor, how desperate I was for this job, and what awesome writing skills I have.

Dear Mr. Tetzeli,

All I’ve got is snark. I thought I had other skills, but it turns out it all comes down to snark.

Fortunately, snark is a good quality in writing. Specifically, it’s a good quality in Entertainment Weekly. EW has snark in spades. And so do I. Which is why I think I would be a perfect match at EW, as a writer, designer, editorial assistant, or lackey.

As a former Reed Business Information intern, I have written about pharmaceuticals, food manufacturing, and bulk processing. You probably don’t know about these industries, but I didn’t either when I started at RBI. I learned quickly and was given multiple stories to write. In fact, I’m still writing freelance pieces for RBI.

For the past three years, I have been the yearbook editor at my university, meaning I have produced a 240-page yearbook in 8 months with only 7 layout artists and 1 cranky managing editor. I have done this, and managed to stay sane and to keep up with my studies.

So I have the writing experience, and the managing experience, but I also have the design experience. In the 6 years I have been dealing in design, I have worked with Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress, Adobe Photoshop, and InDesign. I could double-page spreads in my sleep. I can eyeball picas from a mile away. I can throw 15 spot colors on a page with one hand tied behind my back.

I can do all of these things. But why do I want to work for you? Simply because Entertainment Weekly is my Bible. Every Monday, I read it cover to cover, and pine until I can read the next issue. I have incorporated elements from the designs into my own designs because they are simply that good.

Essentially, I love Entertainment Weekly. I would love working for Entertainment Weekly, no matter the capacity. I can be at your beck and call in August.


Lauren Thompson

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shortbread with Lemon Curd and Whipped Cream

So for my April Fools dinner club, I made these shortbread cookies with lemon curd, whipped cream and citrus marmalade, from Bon Appetit.

When you read this recipe in the magazine, the title says Citrus Marmalade, but the marmalade recipe is actually separate, on the next page. This is a critical misstep on BA's part, for I completely forgot about the marmalade until I'd bought all of the ingredients and made the lemon curd. Then I noticed the marmalade recipe and swore. Loudly.

Then I regrouped and bought some Bonne Maman orange marmalade. It worked fine. Actually, it was a little too tart for my taste. So the next time I made this recipe, I added some orange zest to the whipped cream and it tasted great.

So when you get to the marmalade recipe below, keep in mind that I have no idea if it's good. I mean, it looks good. It sounds good. But I haven't made it yet, so I have no idea. Plus, it sounds really time-consuming.

I made the lemon curd two nights before dinner club, the cookies the night before, and the whipped cream right before serving. The lemon curd is super easy and goes great with any kind of berries. Everyone loves lemon curd.

From Bon Appetit

Meyer Lemon Shortcakes with Meyer Lemon Curd and Mixed Citrus "Marmalade"

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon (packed) finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon (generous) coarse kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes


  • 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons (packed) finely grated Meyer lemon peel or regular lemon peel
  • 3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chilled heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar


Meyer Lemon Curd

  1. Whisk eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and coarse salt in medium metal bowl to blend well. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and instant-read thermometer inserted into mixture registers 170°F to 172°F, 5 to 6 minutes (do not allow to boil). Remove bowl from over water. Whisk butter into curd, 2 to 3 cubes at a time, allowing butter to melt before adding more and whisking until curd is smooth. Press plastic wrap directly onto surface of curd and refrigerate overnight.


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and coarse salt in medium bowl to blend well. Stir in lemon peel. Add butter cubes and rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 cup cream and stir just until dough begins to clump together. Gather dough together. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and press out to 7-inch round (about 1 inch thick). Using 2 1/4-inch-diameter cookie cutter dipped into flour, cut out rounds. Reshape dough scraps and cut out additional dough rounds for total of 8.
  2. Transfer biscuits to prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 inch apart. Brush top of biscuits with remaining 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream; sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until biscuits are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer biscuits to rack and cool completely.


  1. Using electric mixer, beat 1 cup cream and 2 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl until peaks form.
  2. Cut biscuits horizontally in half. Place bottom half of each biscuit on plate. Top each with 1 heaping tablespoon lemon curd, then generous spoonful of Mixed Citrus "Marmalade." Top with whipped cream topping. Cover each with top half of biscuit. Dust shortcakes with powdered sugar.

Mixed Citrus "Marmalade"

  • 15 medium kumquats
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 30 very thin Meyer lemon slices or regular lemon slices (about 1/16 inch thick; from about 2 to 3 medium)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice or regular fresh lemon juice
  • 6 blood oranges
  1. Cut ends off kumquats, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds, removing seeds. Place kumquat slices in medium saucepan; pour enough cold water over to cover by 2 inches. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Immediately remove from heat; strain. Return kumquat slices to pan; repeat blanching 2 more times. Transfer kumquat slices to medium bowl. Combine 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water in same saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then bring to boil, brushing down pan sides with wet pastry brush. Add kumquat slices; press gently to submerge. Reduce heat so that mixture barely simmers. Cover surface with parchment round. Cook without stirring until kumquats are translucent, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes.
  2. Using slotted spoon, transfer kumquat slices to medium bowl. Add lemon slices and lemon juice to syrup in pan, pressing to submerge. Bring to boil. Reduce heat so that syrup barely simmers. Cover surface with parchment round. Cook without stirring until lemon slices are translucent, occasionally pressing on parchment to submerge slices, 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Transfer lemon slices to cutting board; cut each into quarters. Add lemon quarters and syrup to bowl with kumquat slices. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill.
  3. Cut off peel and white pith from blood oranges. Working over bowl to catch juices and using small knife, cut between membranes to release segments. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
  4. Drain syrup from kumquat-lemon mixture, reserving syrup. Drain orange segments. Combine fruit in medium bowl, adding some syrup if mixture is dry.

Tada! I have plenty leftover, so please come to my house and eat some so I will stop eating this for breakfast!

Friday, April 2, 2010

French Onion Soup

So, remember when we made all the veal stock? We had to cook something with is, and John loves French onion soup, so we made French onion soup.

This recipe is from the same cookbook as the veal stock, Staff Meals. There were some weird things about this recipe. I'm going to give you the recipe and then tell you what I would change.

French Onion Soup by Staff Meals
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs canola or other vegetable oil
  • 5 large onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise (about 5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 8 cups veal stock, beef stock or chicken stock
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Crisp croutons and parmesan for garnish

  1. Combine the butter and oil in a medium-large stockpot and heat over low heat. Add the onions and cook, uncovered, until brown but not crisp, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Increase the heat to medium high and cook the onions, uncovered, stirring often, to further brown and caramelize them, 5 to 10 minutes more.
  2. Stir in the port, white wine, and brandy and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar and stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the soup for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve. Top with croutons and parmesan.

OK, so the recipe didn't work out quite like it was supposed to. The onions didn't brown enough in the time allotted, because there were a lot of them in that pot. We wound up using two pots to brown them and it took us about 60 minutes, not 30. Also, we topped our with French bread and gruyere and broiled them for a minute in individual soup bowls, like they do in restaurants.

The onions had a lot of liquid in them, which I think prevented them from browning properly. My advice would be to brown them for a few minutes in a big skillet so they can cook evenly, just to cook some of the liquid off first. Then, transfer them to a pot to slowly brown some more.

I forgot to take a photo of the finished product, but it looked kind of like this:
And now we have 21 cups of veal stock remaining. What should we make next?

April Fools!

Yesterday was April Fools day, and also our turn for dinner club. We'd made grilled lamb, so I asked everyone to bring a red wine. Kate and Sam brought this:

But we knew they were pranking us. I mean, that is just a ridiculously huge bottle of wine. Also, it says "100% grape wine" on it, which is hilarious.

It's funny that they pranked us at dinner club, because I had my own prank in the works. A dessert prank.

I had made some lemon shortbread cookies for dessert, but I decided to prank our guests with a different dessert.

I bought two round cakes at HEB and cut the middle out of one of them and put two water balloons filled with water in it. Then I put the second cake on top and iced the whole thing. Since it's Easter this weekend, I wrote "I Heart Jesus" on the top.

I needed someone other than me to cut the cake, so I could take video. I told Jarret that he loves Jesus more than anyone else, so he had to cut the cake. There's some discussion in the beginning of this video about what song to sing for Jesus. I hope you don't think we're too sacrilegious. I know Kate was concerned about that.

You can tell from the audio that I freaked out when Jarret first cut into the cake, because the water balloons didn't burst. He'd actually cut right in between the two balloons. But the next cut punctured one of the balloons. You can't really see the water, but you can tell by everyone's reaction what happened.

Kate was very sad that the cake was a prank. She really wanted some cake.

Here's what the cake looked like after we cut it.

For the real dessert, I'd made lemon shortbread cookies with lemon curd, orange marmalade and whipped cream (blog post with recipe coming soon). Kate was happy to hear that there was a non-watery dessert. So that was my April Fools prank! It worked pretty well. It made me happy. It was fun and no one got hurt, and then we had cookies! All pranks should end with cookies.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

John and I have been married a year now and been together for 3.5 years. We have made pies, laughed a lot, taken trips, helped each other through heartaches, and tried, above all, to be kind to one another. He is my best friend and the person I want to talk to, without fail, every day.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that we reached the open farting stage. Like, 3 years ago.

A whole year has gone by, and while we are not wiser, we are definitely older. We've had a lot of fun this past year, getting a new dog, taking trips to see family, going to upteen weddings, eating way too much food.

Also, it's my one year blogiversary! I've been blogging for about a year now. Well, less than a year, but we'll call it a year because I'm only doin one anniversary post and this is it.

To commemorate all of these wondrous occasions, I've got something exciting in the works. Probably going to post it this week or next, so come back and check!

Thank you all for reading! Your comments and feedback make my heart go pitter-pat! Blogging is such a solitary thing that you forget that people are actually reading your words, but you guys always let me know what you think. And for this, I thank you.


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