Over a lifetime, there are few forever friends. I’m lucky to have Leslie as one of mine. During the 20+ years we have known each other, we’ve seen much of life’s roller coaster. College, jobs homes, pets, parents. And of course, there are the guys who were part of our lives .
For Leslie, THE guy was Scott. They knew each other in high school, but the sparks didn’t happen until later, in their thirties. When I met Scott, he and Leslie recently reconnected. The group of us went to a former Miami hot spot called BED. (Yes, you ate in a bed – it was in South Beach, of course. It’s now closed.) Scott was from Baltimore and what struck me about him wasn’t his fast, witty sense of humor or encyclopedic knowledge of all things sports & politics, though that was impressive. It was how Leslie was with him. She was happy, she was herself – and more than ever.
After you’ve loved a friend for decades, you want so much for her. No…you demand more for her. Not just any guy was going to be acceptable for Leslie, at least not to me. He needed to do more than impress her or adore her, the right guy needed to meet her on her intellectual level, to understand and support her hectic career, really get her quirks – and love them more than me. Honestly, this was the top of my list; there were more criteria. And Scott surpassed them all.
Last July 29 the unthinkable happened. I remember with total clarity. Nathaniel walked into our room at the B&B in New York, we were on our annual Watkins Glen trip. He told me Scott died overnight. At first I thought he was wrong, or confused. Scott was only 44! Scott and Leslie had a little boy! No, this was a mistake. Simply not true. Except that Nathaniel spoke true. Scott passed in the night, quite suddenly, in their home in Lake Worth, Florida. I sat on the edge of the bed and cried, then tried to compose myself before reaching out to Leslie.
When you love someone, you become wrapped up in their happiness. You invest in seeing their dreams come true and watching them live their way into fulfillment. It’s more than “wanting the best” for them. You want to see them live long and full. You never entertain that anything less will happen. So it was for me with Leslie. Scott became a huge part of her world in the five years they were married. Scott wove into her dreams of everyday life – little things like trips to the grocery store, and big ones, like trips to Maryland with family. Leslie’s heart grew because of Scott’s love. And I loved her all the more for it.
Today, a year has passed since Scott died. I don’t have the words to really mark this anniversary. Sometimes the acknowledgment that time has passed is what matters, and I believe that to be the case. Nothing I write can replace the time Leslie and their son won’t share with him. No phrase or words will ever pluck out the pain…
A true Baltimore guy, Scott’s fave food was crab cakes. In his honor, we made a vegan version of the recipe. If he were here, I have no doubt he’d try it. He was always game to try new things and whatever project someone was attempting, Scott cheered them on. I loved that about him. The supportive, optimistic outlook.
Leslie, you are in my heart forever. We are thinking of you…
2 zucchini, shredded and drained
1 16-oz. can artichokes, drained and shredded
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (we used Metropolitan Gourmet Gluten-Free)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
3 Tbs. lemon juice (about one lemon)
2 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbs. parsley, dried
3 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. garlic powder
pinch dulse flakes
salt & pepper, to taste
Using a food processor fitted with a grating blade, shred two zucchini. Alternatively, grate zucchini by hand using a traditional box grater. Using a standard blade, pulse drained artichoke in a food processor three or four times, until the stems are broken down, but the petals aren’t pureed. Alternatively, roughly chop artichokes by hand, until there are uneven size pieces, but nothing is too large for a patty.
Place zucchini shreds and shredded artichokes into a colander over the sink, press down and allow to drain thoroughly, about 30 minutes. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside. Preheat oven to 375F.
While veggies drain, add 1 cup breadcrumbs, flax seed meal, lemon juice, Old Bay, parsley, dijon mustard, garlic powder, vegan Worchestershire and dulse flakes to a mixing bowl. Combine, then add drained zucchini and artichokes. If mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs. If too dry, add a little water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Allow mixture to rest for 20 to 30 minutes in the fridge. It will take a little time for the flax meal to create a strong bind.
Form into patties, 6 to 9, depending on size desired. Smaller cakes will hold together better. Pack cakes together tightly.
Lightly coat with remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs. Place patties on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then flip to other side. Bake an additional 15 minutes, until sides are crisp and patties are hot throughout. Alternatively, these Not-Crabby Cakes can be pan-fried in a little oil for about 4 to 5 minutes per side.
Serve hot – with vegan dipping sauce (ours is vegan mayo with a little mustard and relish stirred in, like tartar sauce).
We miss you Scott… thank you for taking such excellent care of my Leslie!