Thanksgiving is canceled.
It sounds like a joke but, at least at our home, it’s kind of true. My family has always been very untraditional when it comes to the holiday season. When I was growing up we celebrated a fairly traditional Hanukkah. I was always slightly resentful about the fact that I was one of the few kids in my school not celebrating Christmas. I wanted ornaments instead of dreidels and a Christmas tree instead of the menorah. Now that we’re all adults, Hanukkah has kind of evolved into a simple gift exchange without any rituals attached. Which is completely fine with me. We do Christmas with Jeff’s family and Thanksgiving with mine. Well, that’s how we normally do it.
This year planning just felt like too much of an ordeal. I’m exhausted. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, my husband has suffered a minor health crisis and will be having surgery next week. I didn’t feel like cooking and my mom didn’t feel like entertaining. So we scrapped the whole thing and are going out to dinner instead. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. If Thanksgiving is about celebrating all that we’re thankful for with our loved ones, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate in a restaurant where someone else does the cooking and the dishes. All we have to do is show up, enjoy one another’s company and relax. I guess when you look at it that way, Thanksgiving isn’t actually canceled. It’s just… slightly different, that’s all. Next year we’ll get back to life as usual.
For those of you who are having guests over, I highly recommend serving these jumbo lump crab cake bites as an appetizer. They might not be traditional Thanksgiving fare but they’re really good. I’ve reworked my family crab cake recipe to create this light crowd pleaser. Is your Thanksgiving menu already set for this year? Totally fine. These will also be fabulous at Christmas and New Years events.
- 16 ounce container fresh jumbo lump crab meat
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup regular mayonnaise
- ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- ⅛ teaspoon fines herbs
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- optional: dijon mustard for serving
- Set the oven to broil and place the oven rack near the top.
- In a medium sized bowl, gently pick through the crab meat to remove any shells. Try not to break up the lumps.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then whisk in the mayonnaise until well combined.
- Add the breadcrumbs, Old Bay, fines herbs, garlic powder, mustard and Worcestershire sauce, stirring until well combined.
- A little bit at a time, gently fold the wet mixture into the crab meat. This part takes some patience because you really want to avoid breaking up the lump meat.
- Using a kitchen scale, weigh out 1 ounce bites and gently shape them with your hands.
- Lightly grease the bottom of a baking sheet (baking spray works well) and place the crab cake bites on the sheet.
- Place a small piece of butter on top of each crab cake bite.
- Broil for 7-10 minutes, keeping a close eye to make sure they don't burn. Allow them to cook on one side the entire time (the lack of filler makes them very delicate). If the tops seem like they're going to burn, lower the oven rack or switch the broiler to a lower setting. You're not cooking the meat but you want the filling to solidify and the egg to cook through.
- When the tops are golden brown, remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool. Place a toothpick in each crab cake bite before serving.