Wednesday, 6 October 2010

And It Looks Like Trouble And It Tastes Like Chocolate If You Want It

I have a mid-October birthday and I'm fortunate enough to be Canadian, which means that I've grown accustomed to three-day weekend birthday celebrations and turkey feasts for my birthday dinner with pumpkin pie in place of birthday cake. It is very difficult to be me, I know.

This year my parents are going to Mexico on my birthday which means that my birthday dinner is going to be less "Thanksgiving Extravaganza!" and more "happy birthday, do you know if we're out of sunscreen?"

So I'm making my own damn turkey. On Sunday. As in four days from now. Cue panic.

I've got the turkey covered, it's the other bits I'm worried about. Last Christmas was the first time I'd attempted to make a full turkey dinner and it was stressful and frenetic. I was ambitious with the number of dishes I made and didn't factor in the size of my stove and I forgot the sweet potatoes under the broiler and set the smoke alarm off and said "fuck" in front of Shawn's dad. I'm getting all clenchy just remembering it.

This year I need to focus on making dishes that can be prepared in advance. I've already vetoed mashed potatoes because there is no successful way to mash potatoes and make gravy simultaneously. I've found my potato dish in Jamie's America (it has a proper name but I cannot remember it - I keep referring to them as cowboy potatoes) but I'm a bit lost when it comes to the other sides. Suggestions are welcome (and desperately needed.) I'd like to do a green vegetable that isn't brussel sprouts and it would be nice to have a sweet potato dish, but I'll consider anything.

One recipe I am frantically trying to find is an eggless chocolate mousse (I know it's not really chocolate mousse unless it's made with raw eggs but eating raw eggs gives me the creeps.) Shawn's one wish for Thanksgiving dinner is chocolate mousse and I feel like I should honour his request, especially since I haven't actually told him about the lack of mashed potatoes (I figure it's best to wait until the actual dinner when I can distract him with the cowboy potatoes.)

So. Recipes needed. Especially eggless chocolate mousse recipes. Bonus points if the mousse recipe calls for orange liquor (chocolate + citrus = be still my heart.)


  1. Happy almost birthday! And I hear you on the dinner anxiety - I'm hosting Thanksgiving dinner for SIXTEEN this weekend... but thought how wonderful of an idea it would be to have a Thanksgiving POTLUCK and get everybody else to contribute. I was slightly mortified when the assumption was that I was on Turkey Duty, but a very good friend has offered to come by my house while I'm at work and spend the day basting away :)

    I don't have any recipes for you, I'm sorry - but only because I am hopeless at cooking anything other than your basic egg omelette or a shepherd's pie - good luck!!

  2. Some mousse recipes, like this one, are lightened with cream and involve cooking the eggs into a custard:

    Not strictly-speaking traditional, but would work!

    I like roast green beans- just drizzle with oil, toss with salt, bake in a 400 degree oven (or 425, or whatever you've got going) for 12-15 minutes or until they go wrinkly and brown in spots. You could do the same with asparagus, if you prefer.

    And I find that if you're still willing to consider mashed potatoes, you can do the potato part a little in advance and bring them back up to temp pretty easily after the gravy is made.

  3. I like green beans, too. I love green bean casserole, but I also like them plain with a bit of olive oil and balsamic.

    I love making mashed yams or sweet potatoes and I throw in a whole lotta goat cheese when I mash them. It's so delicious. You can mash them in advance and just re-heat them when dinner time rolls around.

  4. I'm no help but I'm curious to see the responses! I need a green vegetable too :)

  5. Our go to veggie options are all super simple:

    Green beans--steam them to desired doneness. Sautee up some shallots (or finely chopped onion) and garlic in PLENTY of butter. Add the green beans, salt & maybe slivers of almond if you wanna be fancy. Super simple, takes about 10 minutes max.

    Sauteed asparagus: mix with olive oil and as many seasonings as you want (we use salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, onion powder, maybe some red pepper flakes). Saute up until they're nice and carmalized--the tips will get a little brown & crunchy. Mmmmm.

    Or, we almost always do a simple salad w/Thanksgiving. That's easy & green :-)

  6. My favorite site ever is

    Seriously, ask Vahid I've gotten some of the best recipes from there. Here's a whole bunch of chocolate mousse recipes: and there are even some vegan ones too (they don't use eggs right? I think.)

    Also, I am for the green beans idea. I have them every year with turkey and it's nom.

    they also have a huge vegtable category that you can go through too. :)

  7. Recipes! (Not tested by me, but I hope they help!)

    & for veggies I would recommend anything low stress, like green beans or asparagus, steamed brocolini (sooo good) or cauliflower with a cheese sauce. Or you can go even lower key and bake yams, or do a grain like cous cous instead of rice - there are lots of grocery store brands that are super low maintenance and tasty :)

  8. Have a happy birthday!
    And good luck with the turkey!
    The first (and only?) time a made a ham I was terrified but it went fine with some verbal help from my grandma.

  9. I have no mousse recipes, but Veggie Supreme is (a hit, and) can be made ahead:

    Happy almost birthday, lady. :)

  10. Wow! That's amazing what you'll be making. It's actually made me quite hungry. I'd come and help, but I'm a wee bit far from you.

    Here's a non-egg chocolate mousse recipe I found:

    Best of luck and you'll do just fine!!

  11. Mousse has raw eggs? Ick! I had no idea!

    Also, the name cowboy potatoes makes me giggle. I don't know why.

  12. Happy early birthday and good luck deciding on your sides!

    We always do green beans - boiled for about 10 minutes, then add in some butter, salt, pepper and a little bit of garlic powder and you are good to go.

    We also always do a squash casserole, which is to die for, and can be prepped the night before. Then you just pop it in the oven right before you need it. If you're interested, I can track down the recipe for you.

    I'm not a big sweet potato fan, but this way they are amazing. Slice up the potato, drizzle with olive oil, then top with salt, pepper and cumin. Bake until they get fork tender. Yummy!

  13. sorry i don't have any recipes but i know you'll make all sorts of deliciousness and yay for your birthday! :)

  14. Happy almost Birfday!

    Maybe just make chocolate pudding? :D

  15. advanced happy birthday and goodluck with the cooking! :D