Home In Disarray

March 20, 2016

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche

This is as ridiculous as it sounds.  But it is also delicious, filling, and if you’re keeping an eye on your carbohydrate intake, low carb.  It also gives you all the flavor of a bacon cheeseburger without the bun.  Either eat this on its own, or have it over a simple salad.  I like to double the recipe, make 2, and freeze one of them for a few weeks later.  In my experience, when eating a restrictive diet, the easiest way to set yourself up for success is having tons of “premade” stuff that is ready to eat – which is why I usually have already peeled boiled eggs, string cheese, salami, and jello in the fridge.  This bacon cheeseburger quiche is one of those puzzle pieces.  It keeps in the fridge for a full week easily, although we’ve never had it last any longer than that, if you know what I mean. 😉

bacon cheeseburger quiche


Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche (makes 6 servings – photos show a double recipe)

Ingredients(one pie plate):

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon dry chopped onions (or fresh if you like chopping a tiny amount of onions)
  • 5 oz shredded kerrygold cheddar
  • 4 thick slices bacon, fried till fairly crisp (I use Fletchers from Costco)
  • 71 grams mayonnaise (a few tablespoons)
  • 5 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Cook your bacon (I trust you’ve done this before and know what you’re doing)
  • In a large skillet, brown your ground beef.  Add the dehydrated onion to the skillet as it’s cooking.  After the beef has browned, drain and remove it to a bowl to cool.
  • Shred your cheddar, and chop the bacon.  Once the beef has cooled, mix in the cheese and bacon.  Transfer beef mixture to a pie plate. It doesn’t need to be greased. There’s enough fat in this that it doesn’t really stick.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, eggs, salt & pepper in the bowl.  Whisk until they’re homogenous, and pour the mixture slowly over the beef.  It takes a while for the egg to seep down into the beef mixture.
  • Bake the quiche in a 400 degree oven for 25 -35 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly when bumped.
  • Remove and allow to cool to room temp.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, or place into a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months(I made that number up, freeze for however long you’re comfortable freezing)
  • Slice into 6 slices, reheat in the microwave, and enjoy!

Bacon Cheeseburger QuicheBacon Cheeseburger Quiche

bacon cheeseburger quiche nutrition copy

Posted in: Cooking, Food, Low Carb, Meal Plan
February 15, 2016

The modified hugelkultur beds got an update this weekend!


As part of my early spring yard cleanup, I trimmed back a ton of the huge rhododendron in the front yard to bring more light into the house, and finally deadheaded our huge hydrangea. I’ve been trying to make a point of keeping a somewhat closed system in the yard – that is, not throwing out topsoil/weeds if they can be composted and used in other parts of the yard, etc.  Last year’s super hot summer showed that my hugel beds needed a bit more wood material to hold water, so I dug out the soil in the beds and put more wood in them.


I’d dig like 1/4 of the bed out, fill it with rhododendron trimmings and sticks from the hydrangea, then cover them up  with more dirt, dig the next section, fill with woody material, lather, rinse, repeat.  The woody stuff bumped up the volume in my raised beds, as every spring I find myself needing to add additional soil as stuff breaks down a little, but among my 3 different piles of compost I have going, none of them are ready for time in the garden, so I won’t have any new soil to add this spring.

As I dug through the soil, you can see the lighter brown spots where broken down wood was.  It’s beautiful fluffy soil now.


I had some random scraps of untreated wood leftover from chicken pen construction and bits and pieces of bamboo that were used as stakes and impromptu fences years ago.


Every few years, I like to check on the status of the wood that the beds are made out of.  Because it’s untreated, I have been a bit concerned that it’s going to break down.  The bottom layer is now 7 years old, and the top layer is I think 2.  Both seem to be in fine shape.


Then I just refilled and kind of releveled the bed.  Then the stinker chickens decided that they had to make sure I did a good enough job. I guess the next step is making sure I can keep them out of the garden beds come the time I plant them!


Posted in: DIY, Garden
February 15, 2016

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

orange creamsicle cupcakes

This recipe is originally from the now neglected Not So Humble Pie. It has been heavily modified and dolled up to suit my increasingly picky tastes but is quite good.  The secret to this recipe is the orange bakery emulsion.  It gives you a strong and bright orange flavor that doesn’t bake out the way that an alcohol based extract does.


orange creamsicle cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes 

Companion Recipes – Orange Curd & Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream

Makes 23 (I know, right?)


  • 200g AP flour
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 c (58g) neutral oil (I like safflower oil for cakes)
  • 1/4 c (58g, 1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 1/4 c (60g) sour cream
  • 1/3 c (100g) orange juice concentrate
  • 90g (3 large) egg whites
  • 2.5 tsp orange bakery emulsion
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 10 drops orange food coloring (I used Americolor Orange)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Sift together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Combine your oil and butter in your stand mixer.  Beat on medium low with your paddle attachment.  It will never smooth out.  Don’t sweat it.
  • Add your sour cream and orange juice concentrate and beat on medium for a few minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, combine your egg whites, orange emulsion, vanilla, and food coloring.  Mix thoroughly.
  • With your mixer running on low, add your flour mixture to the sour cream-oil mixture and allow to combine loosely.  Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl and beater.  Slowly add the egg white mixture and mix thoroughly.  Taste the batter and adjust your flavorings to suit your tastes.
  • Add mixture to 23 cupcake liners, filling them about 1/3-1/2 full.
  • Bake cupcakes for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • Remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Once very cool (wait at least an hour), use a melon baller to remove a half-sphere from the center and fill the divot with orange curd.  I like to pipe it in using a ziplock bag.
  • Top with a thick swirl of Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream.
  • Impress the heck out of your friends, family, and coworkers.
Posted in: Baking, Food
February 15, 2016

Orange Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream

orange creamsicle cupcakes

This is based off of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Mousseline Buttercream.  Simply put, it is the greatest base buttercream recipe.  Period.  It is just so stinkin’ delicious.  The texture is light for a European style buttercream, it takes hardly any time to throw together, and it’s not too sweet.  It retains a glossy appearance and since it doesn’t contain powdered sugar, it doesn’t dry out or get crusty, making it a perfect option for sitting out all day. The only caveat is that it needs to be consumed at room temp.  If eaten out of the fridge, the texture resembles that of cold butter, and it is utterly unappetizing. You’ve been warned.  The dual color technique looks super complicated, but I promise, it is super easy.  It’s even way less messy than using a piping bag like normal.  FWIW, if you want to look up some youtube videos, the technique is called icing plugs.  Go ahead and do some watching.  I’ll wait.

orange creamsicle buttercream

Orange Creamsicle Mousseline Buttercream

Makes enough to ice at least 36 cupcakes


  • 1lb (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60g water)
  • 5 large egg whites (150g)
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 vanilla beans, cut in half and seeds scraped out
  • 1 tsp orange bakery emulsion
  • 1/4 c orange juice concentrate
  • orange and yellow food coloring


  • Ensure that your butter is room temp.  If it’s super soft, that’ll spell disaster.  If it’s cold, your frosting will suck.
  • Combine your sugar and water in a small pan.  Either a tiny skillet or a small saucepan.  Whatever.  The mixture just needs to be deep enough to stick a probe thermometer into and get a reliable reading. Start cooking over medium heat on the stove.
  • Separate your eggs.  You need to be sure that no yolks get mixed in with the whites.  Add your cream of thttp://www.homeindisarray.com/wp-admin/edit.phpartar.  Using your whisk attachment, beat the whites until they reach medium peaks (somewhere between soft and stiff).
  • Using your probe thermometer, cook the sugar syrup until it reaches 248 degrees F.
  • As soon as the syrup reaches 248, with the mixer running on low, drizzle the syrup mixture in slowly, aiming for the sweet spot between the bowl and the whisk.  If you hit the beater, it’ll fling it everywhere.  If you hit the bowl, it’ll stick to the sides of the bowl and not get incorporated into the whites.
  • Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until the whites get extra fluffy.  Allow to beat at that speed for a couple of minutes.  Lower the speed to low (you just need to keep it moving) and bring the temp down below 90F, ideally closer to 70.
  • When the temp has dropped sufficiently, start adding your butter in, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Initially, the mixture will deflate a little and thin out.  At around stick 3, it’ll look like it’s starting to curdle.  Have no fear.  This is normal and it’ll come out better on the other side.  Increase the speed, allow to beat a little longer between butter additions, but continue adding the butter.  Somewhere in the middle of stick 4, the texture will start to shape up.
  • After all of the butter has been added, increase the speed to medium high and whip for 1-3 minutes.
  • Divide the mixture and set half of it aside.  Add your vanilla caviar and mix until thoroughly combined.  Set a large sheet of plastic wrap out and spread the vanilla flavored buttercream out in a thick line.  Roll it up, and twist the ends.
  • Add your unflavored buttercream back to your mixer bowl and add your orange bakery emulsion and orange juice concentrate in.  Beat to combine.  Add your food coloring, a drop at a time, allowing to mix thoroughly with each addition.  You are going for a pale orange tone. Taste the frosting and add/adjust as your taste dictates.
  • Follow the same procedure to make a plug out of your orange frosting.
  • The the thin ends of both plugs and pull them through the end of a piping bag fitted with an interchangeable tip.  Snip the ends off even with the end of the bag, and fit a large star tip, I like a 1M to it.
  • Using a round swirl pattern, pipe the frosting on top of your cupcakes.  They’ll look like a professional baked them.

orange creamsicle buttercream

Posted in: Baking, Food
February 15, 2016

Simple Orange Curd Sous Vide

Sous vide orange curd

I learned last minute that we would be celebrating a coworker’s birthday the next day.  I just started at a new company a month and a half ago, so I am still in the phase where I’m doing my best to show them how incredible I am.  Since this particular coworker eats satsumas and oranges all the time, I knew that my creamsicle cupcake recipe would do the trick.  Unfortunately, I made it experimentally and didn’t do that thing where I actually noted down what I did, so to figure out what happened last time, I had to find old posts that I had made on chowhound to see if I had described how I made it.  You see, orange curd is more difficult than you might expect.  The acid in lemon juice is what is responsible for the thickening in lemon curd, and since I wouldn’t be using lemon juice, I had to come up with ways to thicken it.  Gelatin is an option, but for something piped, getting a creamy consistency is a toughy.  I used my super thick lemon curd recipe, doubled the egg yolks, and used orange juice concentrate.  It came out thinnish, but useable as a cupcake filling.  Usually when I’m baking cakes/cupcakes, I premake my cake and my fillings, then make the frosting the day of and go from there.  I didn’t have the luxury of time, so I decided to go for it and cook the curd sous vide! I would call it a success, and I’m not sure that I’d make lemon curd on the stovetop again!

orange curd

Sous Vide Orange Curd

Makes about 3.5 cups, or enough to fill at least 48 cupcakes


  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup orange juice from concentrate
  • (optional) strips of zest from one orange, all traces of pith removed
  • (optional) 2-3 drops Americolor orange food coloring

Instructions (Sous Vide):

  • Preheat your water bath to 167 degrees F.
  • Melt your butter and combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Pour into a zip top gallon size freezer bag
  • Place bag in water bath at 167 and cook for 1 hour.
  • Remove from bath.  If you added zest, remove.
  • Pour curd liquid into a blender and blend for maybe a minute.  The color of the curd will change as a little air is incorporated and it re-emulsifies.
  • To quick-cool, put into a clean ziplock bag and allow to lie flat somewhere to dump heat.  I used my granite counters. Then place bag(still flat) in the fridge to chill – about 45 minutes.
  • To normal-cool, pour into a jar, allow to cool a bit on the counter, and then refrigerate until set, usually 4-6 hours.

Instructions (Stovetop):

  • In a heatproof, nonreactive bowl (I like using glass for this), combine everything but the butter and give it a quick whisk, trying not to incorporate too much air.
  • Place bowl over a pan with a small amount of simmering water, creating a double boiler.  Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, usually when the temp hits the mid 160s.
  • Remove bowl from heat, remove your zest if used, and add your butter, cut up into 8-10 pieces.  Stir until all of the butter is melted.
  • Refrigerate curd overnight, and use to fill cupcakes, normal cakes, have on top of scones, or ice cream.  Basically anything where you’d use lemon curd.


Posted in: Baking, Food, Sous Vide
January 27, 2016

Brats with Bacon Braised Cabbage

\Brats with cabbage

This is a goody.  Simple and satisfying as a small meal, or add a side of some sort and serve it as a “normal” meal.

Makes 5 servings, takes 45 minutes


  • Pack of 5 Trader Joes uncooked bratwursts
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 10 oz shredded cabbage
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a large skillet, crisp your bacon. Allow it to cook over medium heat until it is starting to crisp up but isn’t destroyed.
  • Remove the bacon to a plate and set aside, but leave the fat behind. Add your brats and brown them on each side. Once you’re satisfied with their color, add the bacon back to the pan and remove the brats. Add your cabbage, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
  • Saute for a few minutes until the cabbage begins cooking down. Add your ACV and chicken stock, plus a large pinch of salt and allow to come to a simmer, still over medium heat.
  • Add your brats back to the pan(nestled into the cabbage) and allow to simmer gently for 10-20 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Taste a little of the cabbage and adjust the seasonings.
  • To serve, place 1/5 of cabbage mixture on a plate and top with one bratwurst.Brats with cabbage
January 15, 2016

Laurel’s Perfect Manhattan

Perfect Manhattan

I have shared a Manhattan recipe before, and it’s a great recipe.  But it is also a few years old, and as I’ve aged, my tastes and understanding of cocktails have changed.  In general, I now tend to prefer cocktails that are less sweet.  The “perfect” Manhattan reflects that.  The perfect Manhattan replaces half of the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth.  It’s a simple substitution, but it makes the difference between a cocktail that coats your mouth, and one that’s easy to sip without feeling icky.

Perfect Manhattan

Perfect Manhattan (makes 2)


  • 6 booze soaked cherries
  • 1/2 oz cherry-soaked whiskey (or whatever your cherries are packed in)
  • 4 oz rye, bourbon or other American whiskey (I prefer rye, Craig prefers Jack Daniels)
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1  oz dry vermouth
  • 4-6 dashes bitters
  • Ice cubes


  • Get out 2 coupe, rocks, or martini glasses
  • Prepare your garnish. Spear 3 cherries on a cocktail stick.  Place them into your glasses and set aside.
  • Start building your cocktail in a sturdy glass.  Combine the cherry liquid, whiskey, vermouths, and bitters in the glass. If I’m cooking around making cocktails, this step often takes a few minutes, making adding the ice at the end especially important.
  • Add ice until the level of the ice reaches just past the top of the liquid.
  • Stir.  If you have one of those fancy cocktail spoons, use that (I have been meaning to add one to my amazon cart for quite some time.)
  • The goal with the stirring is to make the liquor mixture cold.  Once it feels very cold on the outside of the glass, pop a hawthorne strainer on your glass and strain the Manhattan into your prepared glasses.
  • Enjoy.


This recipe is so easy to scale.  It’s essentially 2 parts whiskey, .5 parts each sweet and dry vermouth, and a couple dashes of bitters, plus some cherries.

Posted in: Cocktails, Drinks