fresh veggies for dinengdeng in casantolan

After some years of just passing by my home province (Nueva Vizcaya) on my travels to the big city, I finally decided one cold dawn to drop by the national highway in Bambang on my trip back to Cagayan. It's a sudden decision to stop the bus and step down and have my feet touch the familiar earth of my province again, at 4AM, and transact with one of the night-shift tricycle drivers awaiting for passengers at the bend of the road going to Dupax del Norte to bring me to Mabasa and thence to Casantolan, to home, again, perchance to dream...

Yes, i'm always dreaming green when I'm reminiscing about my native place, literally green with the greens of Casantolan. I mean, the nateng, the kanatengan, the vegetables, the veggie patches, of course, of which I always crave, etched in my childhood memory of a farm kid, my mother's lush and verdant gardens of edible and ornamental plants.

So the first thing I did, attack the veggie patches and take advantage of the freshness of the greens, mostly green leafy goodies, here's my modest harvest for the morning, I wanted a dinengdeng of various leaves for breakfast (click on the photos for a larger view):

Saluyots are all around, I'm so over-eager to pick:

There, saluyot, kamotig tops, alukon shoots, kalunay (this one's a big variety of spinach growing wild  all over the yard), some tarongs:

And here, karabasa blossoms to complete my dinengdeng:

Naimurianen ken nabugguan, the veggies are ready:

What I miss more about being a barrio boy ("barriotic") is the way the food is prepared, using simple wares and employing the most basic chores. Here's a unique way to cook dinengdeng -- in a rice kaldero rather than in a tayab or banga. And, to top the experience, cooked upon an improvised iron stove and using binalsig, chopped firewood:

The bugguong is boiled; next, the veggies by layers, with the sabong-karabasa on top. No sagpaws needed, I want a real dinengdeng of just veggies, no dried/fried fish/meat to distract the generosity of the plant kingdom:

After a few minutes (no overcooking, please, I want it kind of "medium rare" to enjoy it pristine and succulent), here's the final dinengdeng:

Here's my labay, my plate, my rice and dinengdeng. I missed much this unique tin plate, complete with a tilbak (dent), of my childhood, so rural and so promdi but it only adds up more memories to enjoy and delight upon while savoring my dinengdeng ala-Casantolan:

What a bliss! This makes me craving for more Casantolan homecoming. I should.