Something's BUGging Me

Ugh... Effing garden pests... To be specific, cabbage worms. Now, I don't have any actual cabbages this year, but I DID have brussel sprouts, which I pulled out due to cabbage worm infestation. And I DO have kale (our FAVORITE plant food) which is slowly becoming infested with the damn things.
My kale bed

Now, I've been using diatomaceous earth to try and combat the little buggers, but as of late, it seems a waste of energy and money. I think I'm gonna have to pull the kale *big sad face...

I DO want to plant more kale though, and I want to put it under a row cover cover in the back yarden. All the internet sites say to use 1/2 inch pvc, but I worry about it bending appropriately, or not bending? I imagine it will look something like this...

I plan on using this Agribon AG-19 fabric to cover the hoops and the kale. The description says it will protect plants in temps as low as 26 degrees, which for this purpose is excellent as I want to try to keep the kale growing through at least January.

Have any of you used this fabric or something similar? Do any of y'all use pvc to make little hoop houses? How are they working out??


Ramen... Can This Be My Religion???

Just look it this bowl of ramen below... Take it allllllll in.... Can you smell it?
Just a cell phone pic, and it looks DELISH

I've been slightly obsessed with ramen and pho for the last few months, and I'm calling this my first real success. It has got to be the best freakin ramen I've ever had. Seriously. And there is even a restaurant in Cleveland  completely dedicated to the stuff - which I have tried twice (just to give them the benefit of a doubt) and I was sorely disappointed each time. But this is not a restaurant review, so I digress.

After scouring my best friend pinterest for homemade ramen recipes, I discovered that the key is a super flavorful broth and the best noodles - and not spaghetti, but real Asian noodles. Mine was vegetarian tonight, but yours doesn't have to be. Here is how I went about this...

Vegetarian Ramen

For the dashi (the broth)
2 quarts vegetable stock, or bone stock, whatever you like really! (Ramen is traditionally pork bones, but just go with what you like)
1 Tbs olive oil and 1 tsp sesame oil
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup mirin
1 Tbs yellow miso paste
black pepper to taste
~Allow the garlic to sweat/brown slightly in the oils over medium heat, then add in your stock. Allow the stock to reduce by half, then stir in your condiments. Bring the broth back to a boil before pouring over the noodles. (Make extra dashi and keep it in the freezer so you don't have to do this every time you want soup. By the time you boil your broth next time, all your toppings will be done including your egg!)

For the toppings
You can have any manner of vegetables or roasted/grilled meats
carrots (boil in broth)
spring onion (top soup raw)
celery (boil in broth)
mushrooms (boil in broth slightly)
eggs (drop your eggs into already boiling water for exactly 7 minutes, then plunge into ice water and peel -you will have a perfectly set white and creamy yolk)
cabbage (boil in broth slightly)
broccoli/cauliflower (boil in broth slightly)
~I think you get the hang of it. Use what you have and what you like. Don't go out of your way!

For the noodles
I recommend something along these lines....
You will want to boil these separate from the soup... Pour the broth over the cooked noodles JUST before serving.

So... put it all together... Bowl, noodles, broth, veg/meat,  spring onion, and hot sauce if you so desire. Make sure to treat your broth like sauce rather than soup, as it will be very strong in flavor, but OH SO GOOD!


Catching Up

Hey Y'all! Sorry I've been absent from the blogosphere... I don't know exactly what my issue is, but I just haven't been feeling the garden and blogging thing lately. Perhaps my lack of participation in the June blogathon due to lack of technology got me out of the habit and I just never bounced back. I don't know.

But anyways, even though I've been negligent when it comes to the garden, it is still producing! We have eggplants coming out of our ears, the tomatoes are FINALLY starting to come on, the peppers are having a record year, and I actually got enough cucumbers to can after last year's total lack of, well, anything.

I have put up about 9 pounds of kale (another huge harvest will happen on Thursday), 11 quarts of dill pickles, 6 pints of pickled jalepenos, and just this morning I roasted 6 large eggplants for the freezer and charred a tray of chilis, also for the freezer.

Don't count on me being around much in the near future... This year is my FINAL year of school! Woot! But that also means I will be in a classroom full time and taking regular classes... Husband and I have actually scheduled time for each other in our calendars each week since we will NEVER see each other. How freakin pathetic is that???

We are going on a big vacation next week to Boston, so I will be sure to post lots of pictures for y'all to enjoy in my absence :)

Hope all is well, thanks for sticking with me!