I’m constantly inspired to start new projects. Poor Dustin doesn’t even blink when I get out the drop cloth and begin randomly staining 16 wooden planks in the middle of our kitchen. He’s so logical and his career has been so linear. I love that about him but I don’t mind telling you I don’t have a linear thought all day. We are so different.

What has always united us is our love of food. The first summer we spent together, we rolled around in his bright yellow car and we hit every restaurant we couldn’t afford. I was enamored with his mastery of Greek cuisine. I loved the way he ordered gyros without sounding American.

He first got me into spicy food when I was 17. He’d order Thai and Indian dishes with only one specification. It had to be hot. I’d imagine the chefs back in their kitchens, rolling their eyes and casually emptying entire cans of chiles onto his plate. He never flinched.

Now we eat spicy food together. Most recently, these jalepeno poppers—errr, I mean–chilies rellenos. For two people who use two different sides of the brain, it’s nice to find common ground. Even when he’s doing long division in his head and I’ve got paint smeared all over my face.

“Maybe our children will have the best of both worlds,” he offered one evening over Sambal chicken. “Let’s just hope they can add,” I reminded him.


Chilies Rellenos


2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
11 ounces cheddar cheese
16 jalapeno chilies
vegetable oil, for frying
Kosher salt, to taste


Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl. Pour flour into another separate bowl. Cut cheese into thin strips.

Make a slit in both side of each chili and scrape out seeds. Rinse cavities and pat dry with paper towels. Place a stick of cheese inside each chili.

Pour oil into a large, heavy pot or deep fryer and heat to 350 degrees. Dip chilies into eggs, then flour. Deep-fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Season with salt immediately.

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