Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dear Mr. Bobby Flay:

Dear Mr. Bobby Flay: 

This is our submission for your new show, Bobby's Best Home Cook.


My sister and I will be submitting from Dallas - well...really Fort Worth, but it's all just one big place anyway - Dallas, of course, being a small suburb of Fort Worth...(wink, wink)

We decided to send our submission as a post in my food and recipe blog, which I started in 2009, thereby encouraging you and yours to actually look at the blog and see what's cookin'.

And not only that....we're:
Very loud
Pretty cute (for our ages)
Pretty funny together

..and we talk simultaneously, as all good Italians do, and never miss a word the other says. Some people seem to get frustrated by this and seem to think it's rude, but that's because they're not Italian.

We also tend to say the exact same thing at the exact same time. We do it often enough that it almost seems weird.

Hope this post and this blog show the passion for recipes, cocktails, parties, travel, restaurants, ingredients, chefs and all things food that runs deep within our veins. We're a super team!


This is my sister Sandy (left) and I upon arrival in Madrid, Spain, eating huge, delicious prawns. We live to eat!

Our Story

My sister, Sandy (Mowins) Moser and I live in separate cities - she in Apopka, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, and me, Nancy (Mowins) Farrar (above right), in Fort Worth, Texas. But we talk at least 3 times a week and are the closest sisters you may ever meet.

When we get selected for this : ) she'll come to Fort Worth and we'll cook together from here. Been cooking (and fighting and laughing) together all our lives. Born just 15 months apart (I'm the baby : ), our Mom dressed us as twins until we were way too old to be dressed that way.

And that's where our story starts. At home with our Mom...and grandma, and aunts and uncles and cousins....

Mom, Auntie and Virgie in Syracuse, NY.

And our Dad, who, by the way, brought us to The Swallows Restaurant in Syracuse, NY (above) from the time we were a mere two and three years old. (I'm pretty sure it was really a bar, as there is no food on the table in this picture.) We're the two on the far right.

So we grew up as little Italian girls in Syracuse, NY surrounded by food, cooking, family, laughter, loud talking and more food for the duration of our lives. We celebrated every family members' birthdays together, with a clan of 30 or more at every party.

Our Mom was the ultimate perfectionist and taught us all we know about food, cooking and throwing a great party. And my Dad infused the laughter and the fun...and the cocktails.

And so our love for food and cooking was born. When our Mom went back to work during our teens, she'd leave us notes on the counter of what to make and how to make it for dinner. From Burgers and Fries, to Meatloaf, Swiss Steak, Macaroni and Cheese, and Potatoes in the pressure cooker, we'd simply do exactly what we'd watched her do for years and we'd call her at work if we had a question.

I think we were pretty good at it even back then, as no one died or even got sick. 
Sandy on left, Nancy on right. We had a pink kitchen.

Here are some photos so you can get a sense of who we really are and who we pretend to be.

Photos of Sandy & Nancy - Two of America's Best Home Cooks

This is me having lunch on my birthday last year. Always seem to have a spoon or fork in my mouth.
This is me in Las Vegas in 2010 drinking some bubbly during the day. What happens in Vegas, lasts forever on the Internet.

This is Sandy and I on our Sister's Trip to San Antonio. This is us at Boudro's Texas Bistro on the Riverwalk. They give you these authentic Mexican ponchos to wear when it's cold outside. 

This is Sandy at her birthday party. She didn't make the cake. She didn't throw the party. But she thought this was a pretty good pic of herself.

And this is us up on the bar at Coyote Ugly in San Antonio. That girl musta been 6' tall. We jumped up on the bar the minute we got in there. It was 3 pm by the way.

And this is us with our new friends, The Jonas Brothers. They were eating at Tim Love's Woodshed in Fort Worth a few weeks ago, and being the good PR person that I am, I asked for a photo.

This is us at lunch earlier in August. That's my dress she's wearing.

And this is us wearing the party decorations from the pool party!

And saved the best for last. This is really us the night of our High School dance. OMG! We look like we're right off the boat, as my grandma used to say.

Now that you feel like you know us a bit, let us more formally introduce ourselves.

I'm Nancy (Mowins) Farrar (above left with the very big hair)
Age 54.
Love cooking, yoga, cooking, pilates, cooking, dining out, travel and cooking. Oh...and I also love my husband Ed and 2 sons, Kevin and Michael, ages 25 and 21.
Bachelors Degree in Nursing from Syracuse University.
In healthcare marketing for 16 years, when, as a single mother of two, I decided to start my own business.
Started Farrar Public Relations in 1999. Have had 13 successful, fun-filled years.
My favorite clients have always been my restaurant clients and I've had a few great ones.

She's Sandy (Mowins) Moser (above right near the authentic plastic urn)
Age 55.
She's a court stenographer, ballroom dancer, cook, baker, backyard gardener and internet dater.
Left home (to get away) right out of high school and moved to New Britain, CT to attend Court Reporting School.
She too has her own very successful business and home office in Florida, where she lives with her cute little dog Chow Bella.
She's had her own company for 35 years now. Wow. She's getting old.

Cooking and Parties - Nancy

Annual Pool Volleyball Championships and BBQ
Have hosted this party at our home for 30+ guests for the past 9 years. I create the menus and make all the food and the specialty cocktail every year. My husband Ed makes the music play lists, which may get more compliments than the food. As one guest actually said, "this party is legendary."

This year's menu:

My friend Tara said that "this year's food might have been the best ever."  
PS - Made a special trip to the local Mexican Grocery Store - Fiesta - to get just the right, authentic Mexican ingredients.

 This is the fruit bowl I created. Decided that since it was going to be 105 degrees on party day, that appetizers needed to be cool and light.

 This is a photo of the appetizer table.

 And of course, with a Mexican theme, you just gotta serve nice cold Margaritas.

Sandy flew in this year to attend and help me cook. We spent the day yapping and cooking and telling each other what to do.

A couple of my other volleyball party theme menus have included a Gourmet Hot Dog Menu with all the fixin's, and my famous Hatch Chili Meatloaf Sliders on King's Hawaiian Rolls.

Legal Department Christmas Party
I've hosted this party at home for the past eight years for the legal department from my husband's office. 19 people attend each year. New menu every single year.

Last year was Make-Your-Own-Pizza with nine different toppings, and bechamel and marinara sauces.The year before was Asian-themed, where everyone cooked their own chicken, shrimp and beef in peanut oil in the fondue pot, served with dipping sauces, sushi rice, egg rolls, wasabi peas and those Asian crunchy things.

Semi-Annual Christmas Open House
Started this a few years ago where we invite all our friends to get all dressed up and come over for either a Christmas Party or New Year's Eve Party. Here's a shots of the buffet table last year.

Marinated Jumbo Shrimp, Cheese Board with Dates and Nuts, Italian Meatballs, Prosciutto Rolls, Chorizo, Tomato and Basil Skewers and Assorted Flatbreads and Rolls.

Client Dinner
I put this off for almost 3 years. I never have clients over to my house, but he kept making fun of me saying The Chef Impersonator was really not a cook at all. So I got up my nerve and created this menu for him - the President of a major oil and gas company. He made fun of me because I served ketchup in little individual ramekins for the potatoes. I love ketchup on those potatoes. He'll never be invited again.

Menu: Steak au poivre, Rosemary Potatoes, Caesar Salad with Spicy Croutons, Hot Potato Rolls, Affogato and Cappucino

Used my favorite old cast iron skillet for the steaks.

As I put in the Brandy, the flames went a bit higher than I was expecting. 
See my face in the background.

 Then the flames died down a bit.

 My husband captured the entire event. We laughed and laughed.

Oh, and here's the delicious pepper sauce after the flames died down and the fire department left. Kinda blurry here, but amazing on that steak.

And as requested: Here's some random food shots - from Nancy

Made this for lunch for Ed after golf one Saturday afternoon. Shrimp Cocktail, Caprese Skewers, chunks of Parmesan Cheese, Blanched Green Beans and ice cold Hennepin Beer.

This is Crab Bisque. Not sure when or for whom (or who) I made this.

This is our family's favorite meal. Thanksgiving Dinner plates always look the same, and include my Grandmother's original recipe for Turkey Stuffing, made with Capacola and lots of Grated Locatelli Cheese. 

I got this beautiful Tagine as a gift from my sons. Use it as often as I can. This is my Chicken Tagine with Roasted Almonds.

And this is another house favorite, which I've served at Super Bowl Parties and other gatherings... Three Bean Chili. Original recipe was given to me in 1982 by my ex-husband's boss' wife in Chalmette, Louisiana. Make it every single year.

This was delicious. It's my version of Todd English's Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread. We eat at Olives in Las Vegas whenever we can and he serves this.(Not nearly as good as Mesa Grill : )

This is Smoked Turkey Gumbo. I lived in New Orleans for 3 years, so I just crave this food. Again, not sure who I made this for.

And this is my favorite food group - The "incredible, edible egg." I made these simple Over-easy Fried Eggs with thick, gooey Cinnamon Raisin Toast and it's the best breakfast ever!

And now for some food shots from Sandy.
She's a fantastic cook, and is also a baker. She's simply amazing, and has great parties and holidays at her house, too!

These are Sandy's Belgian Chocolate Cups with White Chocolate Mouse. She had extra filling so she put it into the ramekins. Good cooks NEVER waste food.

This is a shot of her lovely table at Thanksgiving. 

And here's her delicious Miracle Meringue Cake with Fresh Berries she made at Easter.

 A beautiful Chocolate Christmas Tree made with boxed chocolates. 

 And a near-perfect Gingerbread house.

 Sandy's always been proud of her homegrown tomatoes. Hers always look better than mine. 

 She actually made Halloween Carmel Apples with Walnuts, which were gone in a jiffy.

 There's nothing better than the smell of fresh basil.

Then she makes basil pesto, and freezes individual squares for future use. 
Just like Bobby Flay would do!

Our brother Gregg lives in Sweden. Sandy went to visit, and made homemade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam from Gregg's own rhubarb garden at his country house.

 Sandy also loves to make cocktails. And loves to drink them even more. This is her prize Mint Julep. Notice the authentic pewter cup.

Sandy's Lamb Burger with Feta and Homemade Tomato Jam.

This is her Banana Split Pie. Made in a graham cracker crust with loads of cream, sweet cherries and a drizzle of chocolate on top.

This is Sandy's version of Paella. Just like in Spain.

 A yummy Candy Tree made with lollipops hot glue-gunned onto a Styrofoam tree.

And lastly, this is her Penne with Basil Pesto, Diced Tomatoes, Spring Onions and Garlic. We used to have "sauce" every Sunday growing up. It's in our blood to eat pasta....and lots of it.

Sandy's Best Parties

Pool Volleyball
Yes, she too has a volleyball party at her pool. Hers is called Thanksgiving in August, and she made the whole Thanksgiving feast with all the fixins.

Monthly Theme Parties
Sandy and her friends love to play dress-up. At this party they've done Hawaiian themes, Italian themes, Cross-dresser themes where the women dress as men and the men dress as women, Pimps and Ho's and lots more. They're a little racier than us.

Cooking with Friends
Sandy loves to host wonderful small dinner parties where cooking tasks are assigned to her guests. For those who aren't too handy in the kitchen, their assignment is setting the table and keeping wine glasses full. Her specialty: Veal Francaise with Fettucine Alfredo. One guest chopped, one pounded veal, one grated cheese, one squeezed lemons and the host made the sauce.

So here's why we should be chosen:
San and Nan (that's us) should be chosen because we grew up cooking and sharing the love of cooking and entertaining taught to us by our Italian Mom and Grandmother who knew that cooking was a way of showing love.

We have our Mom and Grandmother's stained recipe cards in their own handwriting, which are simply priceless. When we cook together, we laugh and carry on and make a few mistakes every now and then and have to start over...like the time Sandy found that her little dog, Chow Bella, had eaten two holes in a birthday cake set on the table to cool.

We know that life is short so we work hard so we can play hard and party as often as possible.

 Bullriding in Texas.

 Sandy's ballroom dance group in Orlando. Sandy in middle in white.

Family trip to Greece. We love cooking together, traveling together and taking a big trip once a year whenever we can. Family is everything.

And finally, an ode to our Stepmom, Marie, also Italian. And here are The Two Best Home Cooks in America in our Italian aprons holding Grandma Brown's Canned Baked Beans, which, by the way, are the best in the entire world.

We'd love to be on your show, Mr. Flay. We need to be on your show, Mr. Flay. We're not proud. Please pick us!

Nancy Mowins Farrar

Sandy Mowins Moser

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