It’s a beautiful September day. Flashback. . . We are having the time of our life with Bobby Flay’s team. What fun it is to work with such fun, creative people!

On the other hand, we are nervous too. Will our dishes cook to perfection or burn?! Do we have all of the ingredients?! Will Bobby Flay like the taste?!

This is the day that we have anxiously awaited . . . will it be a culinary victory?!! Grace-anne and I are competing to cook the best dinner and host the best dinner party for Bobby Flay.

The theme of “Bobby’s Dinner Battle” is the Wild West. The judging criteria is based on the flavor of the dishes and how much the menu incorporates the theme. So we are making Old Fashioned cocktails, empanadas, grilled pork tenderloin with an andouille sauce, twice baked potatoes, homemade rolls, and chocolate sorbet for dessert. One of Bobby’s favorites and it should be a snap to make.

We have three hours from start to finish to cook and plate the dinner for Bobby and the other two teams.

Here we go . . . culinary victory or defeat?!

The clock is ticking . . .

Grace-anne is grilling. I’m kneading the dough for the rolls.

Much to our surprise, we have a box of cactus, a challenge ingredient, along with gloves for handling the thorny plants. Wow, we are to cook it and serve the cactus with our meal!

This is not something we were planning on cooking. With not much time to consider our options, Grace-anne gets a knife, shaves off the thorns and slices the cactus into strips. Meanwhile, I am setting up three bowls for battering and frying the cactus. The hot grease bubbles as the battered cactus hits. They cook to a golden brown. They cool off. We taste – as Bobby Flay says to do – they are delicious. What luck!

We cut fresh yellow roses and arrange them in sterling silver Mint Julep cups, grab bandanas, a cowboy hat, china, wine glasses, candles, and silver. Dashing to the dining room, we decorate and set the table.

The clock is ticking . . .

The last plate is complete. The timer buzzes. It is time to serve our meal!

Bobby and the opposing teams taste and critique. Of course, we are in the kitchen and unable to hear what’s going on behind the closed door. We wonder if Bobby likes our Wild West feast. Later, we find out that the chocolate sorbet was a disaster. I left out the sugar. Oh my, it’s not looking so good. Will it be a culinary victory or defeat?!!

The time as arrived . . . the cooking and judging is over now. Bobby has picked the winning team. The three teams stand around the dining room. Our hearts are pounding . . . ” And Dallas Best Home cooks are Grace-anne and Susan!” says Bobby Flay.  We are thrilled!! Bobby Flay

We wrap up and have a brief interview.Bobby Flay's Dinner Battle

Now, the new challenge is keeping our culinary victory a secret. How will we ever be able to do it?!!Bobby Flay's Trophy 

We devise a plan . . . we hide the trophy in the attic and tell our friends and family that Bobby’s team filmed three endings. When the show airs, we will find out the winner. It’s a plan . . . a Culinary Victory!