Thursday, May 10, 2012

The grass is always greener...


"The grass is greener on the other side of the fence." 

This is what this image seems to say to me when I walked to the park today.  Of course I was on the side of the fence with all the concrete, hahaha. When I posted this pic on Facebook, my friend Rowena commented that it is human nature to always think that way.  

This applies to many facets of our lives, Rowena went on, like our relationships, career, health, etc.  Instead of always looking at the other direction (out of curiousity, discontentment, uncertainty), why not stay focused on what is at hand and make the most of what we have.

Bravo, very well said Rowena!

My husband and I come from different regions in the Philippines.  Growing up, I always wanted to live in the city, while he always wanted to live in the province.  Life throws some humor in our lives that yes, we had lived on both sides - experiencing life in the city and in the province. We learned how to appreciate the beauty of a simple, provincial life in my hometown and also the fun and excitement of living in the city.



So I was thinking out loud on what to cook tonight and he suggested, Why not make dinakdakan?
I was surprised with the request, for dinakdakan is a dish common in my hometown but not in the city.  It was endearing because it felt like my husband grew up with the dish, like it was very familiar to his palette.  

Guided by my husband's suggestion, I made dinakdakan and paired it with a simple veggie dish of dinengdeng.  Both dishes are simple staples from the small town of Tuguegarao.


Dinakdakan is an Ilocano (although I am not Ilocano, but Ibanag) dish made of grilled pig's ear and face laced with pig's brain.  Ok, before you fall off your chair, no I didn't cook my version that way.  Instead I used pork steaks and added mayonnaise in lieu of the soft nervous system organ.  You could use pork belly too if you'd prefer.  Dinengdeng is a simple vegetable dish that is cooked in fish sauce broth.  You could use a variety of veggies but in my version I used spinach.



Dinakdakan

2 pcs pork steak (belly, butt could also be used)
1 tsp pork bullion (the powder one)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 whole white onions (sliced)
green onions chopped
1/4 c calamansi (lemon or vinegar could be used as an alternative)
2 tbsp mayo

Mix garlic powder, onion powder and the bullion together.  Rub it on the pork steaks.  You could grill it but for me, I pan seared the pork steaks on a cast iron pan.  Cook both sides for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the lemon and mayo together.  Season with salt and pepper.  (Note: not too much salt as the pork steaks are already seasoned with the bullion)

Let the meat rest for five minutes.  Slice meat and coat it with the mayo mixture.  Sprinkle a generous amount onions.

For those of you who doesn't want raw onions do this:
On a pan, put 2 tbsp butter.  Add onions.  Stir fry the sliced meat with the mayo mixture.  Stir for a few minutes until onions are wilted.  Enjoy.

Dinengdeng

1 bag of spinach (Use any leafy vegetable)
2 tbsp fish sauce (the black one that's called Bagoong Balayan)
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup water
onions

Put the water, vinegar and fish sauce altogether in a pan.  Allow a few minutes to simmer.  Add the onions and the leafy vegetables.  As soon as you dropped the veggies, switch off the stove.  Allow a few minutes for the veggies to cook but remove it at once.  You don't want to overcook your  veggies.


This duo is usually in a family's dinner repertoire.  If you try it, it will give you a glimpse of how the people in the Northern part of the Philippines have their family dinner... and for this reason, I would like to submit this post for this month's Kulinarya hosted by Betty Ann or Dudut.  I didn't quite follow the "theme" but these dishes definitely have my hometown stamp on them.


25 comments:

  1. I have to admit as you described the authentic dish, my eyes got bigger and bigger and then I giggled when you mentioned brains!! I looked at the topping of your dish and I thought whoa!! (But to my relief, it's mayo!! :) I could never ever eat brains, I tried as a child in Tuguegarao but just like balut, I simply don't have the gastronomic sophistication or exoticism to partake in such delicacies of our beloved PI. Anyway Ading, I was sooooo RELIEVED to read on that you used "everyday" subs to make your dish which frankly sounds DIVINE!! Now, when no one is looking, I will try your dish. Remember, my family members here don't eat beef or pork..which will make my dinakdakan a thrilling dish hehe..Love ya!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shhh... dati kinakain ko din yun for breakfast pa and naka estrellado hahah. But yeah hubs will never ever touch anything like that so with other parts. I hope you will have the time to sneak those contravandang vavoy haha.

      Thanks "suki" for your comment,
      Malou

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for posting Miss Malou. These dishes are always in our dining table too. From my Lola then later on my Mama. Truly Ilocano staples.

    More power on your blogging. You always take me home.

    Love from Dubai,
    Melinda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melinda,
      I was surprised that you commented and I think you used my profile? haha but at least now you know how to comment and thank you for doing so. I hope you could cook and re create dishes that you grew up with where you are.
      Take care and talk to you soon.
      Malou

      Delete
  4. I've been a follower of your blog for almost two years. I love the insightful essays that your share and the wonderful recipes that you develop. It's modern and fresh take on food and life.
    I cannot help but comment about this post. It's true that we always think that the grass is greener on the other side.
    A few months ago, we had a reunion and exchanging stories with my former classmates and friends made me realize that everyone in the group wished we lived the lives of our friends. We wish we live in a paradise and not our own. You are right that we should paradigm shirt and say that "I have a life worth living"
    I got carried away Malou but thank you for being there, who writes regularly, shares her life for us to get inspired. I feel you are a friend on the net I could count on. Please don't tire yourself from posting.

    Mayette Dizon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for the wonderful comment. The heart, and spirit of Skip to Malou is from readers like you. I get my inspiration to continue doing what I do from the kind words that you have written... you don't know how much you've lifted my spirit and warmed my heart Mayette.

      Have a great weekend...
      Hugs,
      Malou

      Delete
  5. Malou-I loved reading your amazing post...such a great comparison, and so true how we think that "the grass is greener on the other side." We never really know how other people really live their lives unless the live in "glass houses"...and we all need our space, and privacy, so this way we may get the impression that all is "well" and get surprised when something happens out of the "ordinary."

    At any case, your pork dish is amazing, tasty, and creative!
    Would love to try this dish!
    Have a wonderful Mother's Day!
    Hugs,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought I was just "over thinking" when I saw the picture but I'm glad you share the same views as I do.
      Yes the pork dish is tasty.. very tasty, I guess it's just an acquired taste.
      Thanks and Happy Mother's day to you!
      hugs,
      Malou

      Delete
  6. Definitely tasty looking - I love how crispy that pork looks. So if I can't find Bagoong Balayan would you recommend using regular bagoong or patis or a combo?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you may, but If you use the shrimp bagoong (the pink one)it doesn't give the exact same flavor profile as the Ilocano version. Maybe what I coould suggest is to add left-over fish to the veggie dish to add the "fish" flavor. Dried shrimp could be added too. I hope this helps. Let me know, i'm excited! Thank you!
      malou

      Delete
  7. Hi Malou,

    I just love your blog. Yes, the grass is always greener on the other side. But upon close inspection, it's been spray painted green!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks ann... i'm so thrilled! you cracked me up tho haha. happy weekend to ya!

      xo,
      Malou

      Delete
  8. Hi Malou,this is such a wise, insightful piece and the two recipes with it are an even bigger bonus. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are right. We should appreciate what we have this moment. And your dishes are so good! I remember the dinengdeng from growing up in Tarlac and it sure brought back memories. Thanks for participating in the May KCC event & sharing your family recipes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you for being so gracious and having a KCC spirit to come over and drop a comment.
      I wasn't so sure if the post fits but your comment confirms it haha. Thank you!
      malou

      Delete
  9. Thank God for pork belly coz pig's ear and brain would be a challenge to make and eat. :) Your take on a very traditional dish looks mouthwatering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks Jenn for coming over.. yay for Kulinarya spirit that brought you here!
      xo,
      Malou

      Delete
  10. My dad is Ilocano but I wonder why he never cook this particular dish to us. I won't be saying no to pig brains that's for sure haha! But I would definitely try your version with pork belly... thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hmmm not even dinengdeng? because dinengdeng is an iconic veggie dish for any Ilocano... why not cook it for him this time :)
      thanks for dropping by
      malou

      Delete
  11. Such a yummy dish.... I prefer the brain, though..LOL!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are a brave soul hahah. i have yet to try it but nah maybe not haha!
      malou

      Delete
  12. First time I read about dinakdakan. It sounds delicious and yes, no brains for me either but I love pig ears.:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dinakdakan is like sisig but sisig is a lot more popular than dinakdakan. you see our cuisine is like filipino food here in the US... it's not in the mainstream :( yeah sadly!
      malou

      Delete
  13. Hi Malou,

    Grass is greener on the other side of the fence because they waste money on water and I prefer to have a greener bank account.

    Grass maybe greener on the other side of the fence but I have beautiful red roses on my side.

    Grass maybe greener on the other side of the fence but brown is my favorite color.

    You see, green is not always better. Have a nice Friday, Malou!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ms. Malou, I'm one of your thousand fans, I am really learning so much of your recipes, thank you so much for sharing ! God bless you more !

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and oh I would be thrilled even more if you could leave a comment... :) Cheers!

Share this thru:

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...