A Recipe for Love








Nick and Sarah



A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended an engagement party for a young lady who was barely a teenager when we first met her over fourteen years ago. She moved to New York City and fell in love with Nick, who had gotten down on one knee to ask for her hand in marriage. It truly sounds like the perfect fairy tale. He managed to completely surprise her; which is very hard to do. The romantic proposal took place in early November, along the Hudson River.

I love stories of finding love in a place that is rather unexpected. I guess because I met my husband on a blind date and he proposed six weeks later. I never thought that Sarah would end up with a career in New York City, much less be the place where she would eventually meet the man of her dreams.

We had known Sarah to always be a kind and thoughtful teenager who also had a mind of her own. She never felt the need to follow the crowd. I recall an article in the Express News about her shopping for her clothes at local thrift shops. She had a passion for finding different ways to use vintage clothing. She always looked fashionable and had a style that was uniquely her own.

We didn’t get to see her as much around the neighborhood after she moved to Austin.  She attended college at the University of Texas and majored in Urban Geography and American Studies.

Upon graduation, she moved back home to both seek employment and decide if she wanted to go ahead and attend graduate school.  At this point in time, my husband was at the City of San Antonio as their Chief Economist. He was about to start a project to analyze the economy for the Westside Development Corporation. He felt like Sarah’s recent studies in urban development and design would be a good contribution to the study.  He was very impressed with her internship on this project. He found her to be hard working and extremely intelligent. She was extraordinary in her ability to successfully complete projects that she was solely responsible for; all while being an intern.

Steve earned even more respect for Sarah after working with her. (pictured here together)

Soon after the project ended, she left for graduate school at Polytechnic Universityof Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain. She had realized her passion for Architecture and Urban Culture.

Upon completion of her studies in Barcelona, Sarah took a leap of faith and moved to New York City where she knew only a handful a people and had yet to  secure employment.

She eventually found a job at a nonprofit as a program manager.  Sarah was quickly using her knowledge of urban development and design along the streets of Brooklyn, New York.

She would soon meet her fiancé Nick, a native New Yorker while in Manhattan.  It was almost love at first sight. They quickly found that they both shared the same passion for working on urban projects and making a difference in the world around them.

After the work ended at her previous employer, she has landed her ultimate dream job. She works for an independent architecture nonprofit that tries to bring the best ideas of design to the attention of policymakers. Her firm seeks to engage the public in thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life.

In her wonderful story of success in both career and personal life; I find an example for my daughters and nieces to follow. They are only six years old and I am reading them fairy tales at night about princesses who marry  the prince and live happily ever after. Each time, I make sure to tell them that it is only after they have gone to college and found a great job.  Sarah’s Mom, Kelley, recently told me that she did the exact same thing when she read to her when she was a little girl. It appears that she listened. My hope is that my children will always remember Sarah’s real experience of following her dreams and eventually finding love. It is a real fairytale, after all, not just one found in a storybook. It couldn’t have happened to a more wonderful young lady.

I think Jay and Kelley, Sarah’s parents, did an amazing job with both of their children. They have a lot to be proud of in both Sarah and Marshall. They have so much to look forward to with the addition of their son-in-law Nick.

We sure have enjoyed watching  them  grow up while they lived only a few doors down from us. We can’t wait to see the beautiful Hill Country wedding.  We promise to show the New Yorkers bound for San Antonio some southern hospitality!

We wanted to share with you a recipe that Sarah’s uncle created for her engagement party. He is a magnificent chef and her entire family loves to cook and entertain. I meant to take a picture of the dish when I was at the actual engagement party a few weeks ago.  I was having such a good time catching up with everyone that I completely forgot. I recently made the dish and took a picture. I am sure it doesn’t look nearly as good as her Uncle David or her Dad would make but I thought back on that wonderful night of wine,food and laughs the entire time I was cutting up the tomatoes!

Engagement Tomatoes by Chef David Farwell in honor of his niece Sarah 

Grape Tomatoes of different colors

5 whole cinnamon sticks

5 whole star anise

1/4 tsp mace

Extra Virgin Olive Oil


Cut enough grape tomatoes to cover 2 sheet pans after cutting them length wise

Lay with side without skin on the top so olive oil can remain inside them while roasting

Poor enough oil olive to soak the tomatoes to the top

Heat oven to 175 to 200 degrees

Place in heated oven to roast for at least 6-8 hours

Remove and let cool

Put tomatoes together with spices with salt having drained the olive oil

Allow to sit and refrigerate for a day so flavors can meld together

Serve with a baguette or favorite bread



Allison, our marvelous hostess making a toast to Sarah and Nick.

Her daughters grew up with Sarah.







Nick and his future Father-in-Law Jay








Sarah with her brother Marshall and Aunt Kathy and former neighbor Mary







Sarah’s Mom Kelley in the orange dress catching up with friends!



A special thanks to Brenda Moczygemba for providing most of the pictures shown here!


It was a wonderful night!

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  1. Charlotte says:

    What an inspiring article!! Oh how I wish every, every little girl’s mother laced her fairytales with this sort of secrets for success! Your heroine sounds like a lovely young woman!

    And I just cannot wait to try a dish with grape tomatoes and cinnamon – YUM!

    • Thanks Charlotte. She is an amazing young lady! You can’t go wrong with grape tomatoes and olive oil in my book!

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