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Nov 25, 2014

Crabfest: Your New Favorite Holiday

I've mentioned in a few blog posts that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but that isn't entirely true. Thanksgiving is my favorite popular holiday, but my true favorite holiday is something unique to my family: Crabfest. My mother prefers to create her own holidays rather than celebrate the same ones everyone else does. It's hard to argue when the invented holiday in question centers around eating as much crab as you possibly can.

Like Thanksgiving, Crabfest is a food-centric holiday, but with a far more delicious and less pedestrian protein as its star. Plus, crab is the perfect food to eat with friends and family; it takes time and effort to get the crab out of the shell, leaving lots of room for conversation. Of course, you may find that most of the conversations you have are centered on the crab itself. There are lots of delicious ways to prepare crab, but the preferred Hill-Cooley Family Crabfest Holiday method is to steam it in white wine.

Crab Steamed in White Wine


Crab (I strongly recommend buying at least a pound per person)
White wine (Amount needed depends on amount of crab you are cooking, but a regular sized bottle should be plenty. Use whatever kind you prefer to drink.)
1/2 stick of butter, plus extra for dipping
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, diced


Melt butter in a pot large enough to hold all of your crab. Add garlic and onion and saute until softened and golden brown. Add about an inch of white wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Place a steamer basket in the bottom of the pot and add crab. Cover pot and steam crab until warmed through, 15-20 minutes. Serve immediately with melted butter on the side.

Do not waste the delicious buttery white wine crab sauce at the bottom of your pot. Served over pasta it makes a perfect side dish. Here are a few more traditional Crabfest side dish options:

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail - Technically we usually serve this as an appetizer. It blows all other shrimp cocktails completely out of the water.

Copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits -  Like a lot of people, my formative crab eating experiences happened at Red Lobster. Because of this, I must have cheddar bay biscuits with my crab. This copycat version only takes about 20 minutes to make from scratch.

Caesar Salad - This is my favorite recipe for homemade Caesar salad dressing: it's creamy, garlicky, and just plain delicious. Plus, it does not call for raw eggs, so it is pregnant lady friendly.

Though we all eat as much crab as we possibly can on the day of Crabfest, there is usually some left over, which is not a bad thing at all. Our favorite way to use up leftover crab is in a crab quiche.

Easy Crab Quiche - This super simple recipe really lets the crab shine. We substitute cayenne for the mace.

So you might be thinking Crabfest sounds amazing, but you aren't sure when you should celebrate it. One of the best things about Crabfest is you can have it whenever its convenient for you: the weekend after Thanksgiving, the middle of August, or even on Christmas day. The important thing is that you eat all the crab you can handle and do so with people you really care about. I'm sure if you try it Crabfest will quickly become your favorite holiday also.

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