Pimento di Patron

Pimientos de Padrón and Life Decisions

July 29, 2009 · 23 comments

These past few weeks have been uncharacteristically tumultuous. Trying to define the success of my blog, dealing with a day job, letting go of my New York frame of mind and attempting to embrace life in California – these all weighed heavily on my shoulders. Funny how a phone call from a missed friend can trigger a new way of thinking. But it did, and now I’m making a change.

I woke up this morning with extra pep in my step and a lightened mind. Decisions tend to have that effect. Ultimately, I decided to make my life my own. My work life, home life, west coast life, east coast life, all of it. They will now be a whole instead of separate entities, summing up exactly where I am right now.

I am done worrying about daily traffic and the number of comments my posts generate. It is quality I’m seeking. The quality of my readers, my friends, my writing, my life. The stress of analytics takes the joy out of blogging. And if it’s not written with love, who would want to read it? That said, if you enjoy what I say and how I cook, leave a comment and let me know. Or, friend me on facebook, follow me on twitter, send me an email. As Nanette from Gourmet Worrier pointed out, it’s all about the relationships you make along the way.

This means I may not comment as often on other blogs – but I promise, if I do comment, it is not because I want something in return. It’s because what you say affects me in one way or another. Danny from Food Bloggers Unite touched on this recently as well.

There is, of course, a limit to how much I can achieve, since the job that pays my bills is in no way associated with Local Lemons. But I have decided to tie Local Lemons into my personal facebook page. Having a fan page and a personal page makes me feel like I have two personas, and I want Local Lemons to be fully integrated into who I am. Eventually, food and family (and maybe my own café?) will be everything, but since it’s not quite yet, this is a start.

So my friends, this is me. With a thank you to Dawn for much-needed laughs, and a big congrats to my husband for landing a stellar job. Now on to the food…

pimentos di patron

Today’s recipe is a simple one – probably the easiest I’ve posted. It features pimientos di padrón, the Barcelona specialty you can now find at Bay Area farmers’ markets. There are two ways to make these mild peppers – fry them in canola oil that reached 375F, or slow-cook them in olive oil until they turn brown. Either way, douse them with flaky sea salt before popping them in your mouth. They’re only around for a couple of weeks, so seek them out while you can. At $12/pound, they are definitely not cheap, especially considering many bars in Barcelona serve them free with a drink. But Europe is much further away these days, and these peppers are well worth the price.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Jacqueline Church July 29, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I discovered you through Nanette. I love pimenton de padron and the game of pepper roulette (who will get the hot one?) I saw your post title and thought maybe you’d devised a pepper eating-decision-making game (like the daisy petal “he loves me/loves me not” game….

Anyway, Japanese call these shishito peppers, I believe they’re the same. Love ‘em all and I want to say I’ve been on this path three years and the only thing you can do is focus on quality, the rest will come. Even if it doesn’t if you focus on the quality first, you’ll have a body of work you’re proud of at the end.

Upward and Onward,
Jacqueline
The Leather District Gourmet

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Allison Arevalo July 29, 2009 at 10:15 pm

I was toying with mentioning the pepper roulette, but I have to say, I never tasted one that was too spicy. I’m starting to think it’s a myth.

Thanks for the kind words. I definitely agree. Writing for SEO and such will just get you so far. Being proud of your work is what matters. Can’t wait to check out your blog.

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Suzanne Sanders July 30, 2009 at 4:27 am

Allison,

If you build it, they will come.. it’s good that you are letting go of some of these worries and stresses you have been going through. It is so hard to build something new. It is even harder to build a dedicated audience, but you have to understand that this is probably only 25% in your control. It is just the nature of our fragmented world right now. I’ve loved your site when I’ve landed on it, I’ve bookmarked it like many other sites… but I have to admit.. there are very few sites I visit regularly other than facebook. (Of course I’m not a foodie and cook so not your typical audience). I know there are many others like me. So girl, it just has little to do with you and the beauty you are creating! Don’t let this part of things bring you down.

You have to do this out of love.. for yourself and nobody else. Keep embracing that and it will bring you success far greater than any other success you will find. That doesn’t mean give up some of the smarter ways to reach out to like minded people, but again.. do that because you love to and are really interested in those people and those things….But I think you got that. Keep on chugging.. nothing is ever perfect in life, beware if it is.. because something is just around the corner!

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Suzanne Sanders July 30, 2009 at 4:33 am

P.S… I think sometimes people forget to share and interact with other people without linking to their website sometimes. Everyone has a website these days and it seems like everyone is linking to it! If you mix it up, then it’s not always going to feel forced and people are more likely to visit when you do share.

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Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 30, 2009 at 6:26 am

First, I must say that the pictures of your pimientos are absolutely beautiful -I love all of the vibrant colors in the pictures.

Second, I agree with your decision to let go of the worries and stress that come with blogging. I have recently come to similar realizations. I also read the Food Bloggers Unite article, as well. I have been trying to achieve a balance between quantity and quality on my blog, worrying less about posting every day and the number of comments. I have also been commenting a bit less, only leaving comments when I really have something to say or found the blog post to be exceptional in some way. I am sure that as you continue to write your blog, writing when you feel inspired and have something to say, you will be just as successful (if not more) than you have in the past. I enjoy reading your blog and I look forward to continuing to read your posts!

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Mindy July 30, 2009 at 10:20 am

I was so happy to read this. I’m about at the point you’re at too. When I started my blog, it was mostly for myself…to document my cooking while abroad. Then strangers began reading it, and lo and behold, I was sucked into the mindset of counting comments and visitors. Now that I’m back in the States and a little discombobulated with cooking (and finding time to do so), I’ve come to many of the same realizations that you have. I like comments, and obviously, because I put the blog in the public sphere, I like having readers, but I don’t want numbers to become the focus of my work.

I’m still trying to decide about Facebook, but if I ever do link my blog to my Facebook persona, you’ll be the first I add. ;-)

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Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef July 30, 2009 at 10:54 am

This is very well written and on point. We just can’t worry about the stats. Brava to you for your great site and great food!

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Dawn July 30, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Yay!!!!! I made the blog! :) and what a scrumptious well-written blog it is! I am happy to have helped . . .That’s what friends are for – no matter what side of the world we are on. You’re doing an outstanding job Allison…and I think your moving out west and starting this site is an inspiration to all of us! Forget the numbers — it’s more important to just love what you’re doing and that you’re happy…the following will come :) Now that I just wrote that I think I am going to quit my job and go become the professional ballroom dancer I have always wanted to be….Thank YOU ;) xoxo

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Mike Brill July 30, 2009 at 3:16 pm

You message was as ‘spicy’ as the peppers. And you are so lucky because the recipe for LOCAL LEMONS combines all those tasty ingredients harvested from the east coast, west coast, work and play gardern that is your life.

I am sure happy I have a seat at the table.

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Helen July 30, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Oh my…I don’t even know where to start; the pizza for one and these peppers for two….thank you, fabulous recipes and ideas. x

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darya July 31, 2009 at 12:17 am

Good for you! And I love the simple, authentic recipe to match your head change :) Padrons are perfect food!

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brad July 31, 2009 at 8:46 am

Ahhhh……. it sounds as if you are reaching a state of zen – a truly wonderful and liberating experience. It’s a nice feeling to realize that worrying about things that cannot be changed is truly a waste of time in our precious (short) lives. I think your blog is wonderful, it actually inspired me to create my own. Keep up the positive attitude and please keep posting your wonderful recipes!

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Allison Arevalo July 31, 2009 at 8:54 am

Such thoughtful and inspiring comments. Thanks so much everyone! So happy you enjoy what I have to say.

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Jessica@FoodMayhem July 31, 2009 at 7:17 pm

Are these the same as Shishito peppers? If so, I have to be shocked that they’re more expensive in CA than in NY. I just got them 2 weeks ago for $9/lb in the farmer’s market. Anyways, your photo is gorgeous and I’m looking forward to the opening of your cafe one day. ;)

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Whitney August 1, 2009 at 9:30 am

I saw your blog on the Leftover Queen’s Finest Foodies Friday and was struck when I saw that you are in Berkeley. I’m an east coast girl turned west when I came out here from Bethesda (just outside Washington DC) and went to Berkeley for undergrad. I love the bay area and have been living in San Francisco for a year after I graduated. This is truly a great area and fabulous for cooking. I recently went to a restaurant in SF called Nopa that you would really enjoy (based on your recipes). I just wanted to connect and say that I love the Berkeley cooking scene and the Berkeley Bowl! It created the gastronomic enthusiast in me that will never die now. Happy Cooking local!

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Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen August 2, 2009 at 4:50 pm

I totally agree here! I think as a blogger, when you start out, you feel that you have to not reveal too much of yourself, but then you start to feel like the work is tedious. I am pretty open about myself on my blog now, and I love it so much more that way!

I really love your blog – I could really relate to your “about me” page. We are currently living in FL, but making plans to move back to VT to live a more sustainable life, and it is hard because a lot of family is in FL, but we know where we need to be.

So I look forward to more posts! :)

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Amy August 2, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Not to sound like a broken record, but I love your blog, your food and your perspective. Blogging does lead to some amazing relationships and has opened a lot of doors for me, I’m sure it will for you too! Here’s hoping our paths cross soon.

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Viviane Bauquet Farre August 3, 2009 at 6:13 am

Allison! I truly enjoyed reading your post – from beginning to end. You have a fabulous blog! As a fellow blogger I can totally relate to all the stresses of it and I am 100% aligned with how you are handling it. It felt affirming to read your thoughts here.
As for the pimientos de padron, I just did a little piece myself on them a few days ago. I adore them! They are not the same as shishito peppers (as Jacqueline mentioned). Shishitos are a bit longer in their shape and consistently-mildly-spicy and also a slightly bitter.
I am very surprised they are so expensive in your area though!
Last year, towards the end of the summer we would get such hot ones now and then that the victim would get misty eyes… yet a few minutes after recovering, we would all be digging in the bowl again!
Very happy to have found your blog and good luck adjusting to CA life and making your tomato sauce!

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Erica August 5, 2009 at 7:46 pm

Hi Allison,
You have a beautiful blog with great recipes and amazing pictures! As a blogger I can relate to the stress about commenting and posting every day.
Good luck!

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Dana August 21, 2009 at 9:50 am

I love this approach to balance and making yourself whole. I also love your devil-may-care approach to your blog and its readership. I tend to get caught up in the comment count and it brings me nothing but misery. At those times, I remind myself that ultimately the blog is for me. It’s a record of my life told through food, since I don’t seem to have the time or energy to keep the handwritten journals I have been writing since childhood. Anyway, I am so glad you found me on Twitter so I could find you and your amazing blog. Can’t wait to read more.

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Becky November 23, 2009 at 10:02 pm

I got some of these last week–late November– at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmers’ Market–only $2/pound! Probably from RiverDog, though I’m not sure. Cooked them tonight, delicious and easy.

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