A Very Vegetarian Birthday

This is my roommate Gracie.

Gracie

Gracie

A few weeks ago, Gracie celebrated her 20th birthday. Gracie has been my roommate for a year and a half now and she’s one of my best friends in the world. To celebrate this grand occasion, I decided to make her a big birthday dinner with all of her favorite foods.

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Gracie’s birthday dinner menu

Citrus garlic tofu with salad and mixed vegetables

Five-cheese macaroni and cheese

Homemade chocolate chip cookies and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sandwiches

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Citrus Garlic Tofu

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 oranges

1/2 package extra-firm tofu, cubed

2 tbsp honey, warmed

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Zest, halve and juice the oranges. Set orange zest aside.

Stir warmed honey into orange juice. Pour orange juice mixture into a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Add tofu. Seal and shake bag to distribute marinade.

Place ziploc bag in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes or until just golden brown. Immediately add tofu and marinade.

Stirring occasionally, cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Set tofu aside to cool. Pour tofu and marinade over salad or serve tofu by itself. Sprinkle orange zest over tofu and serve.

Tofu salad

I served the tofu in a salad full of Gracie’s favorite things: mixed greens, green olives, tomatoes, mushrooms and red wine vinegar. The red wine vinegar goes nicely with the orange flavor of the tofu.

Macaroni and cheese

The main course was five-cheese macaroni and cheese. The five cheeses? Parmesan, mozzarella, provolone, asiago and sharp cheddar. I beat two eggs and added them to the mac and cheese before I baked it, like my mother always did. A tip when baking pastas topped with cheese: When your pasta is nearly done, turn on your oven’s broiler setting for a few minutes. You’ll get a nice, even, golden crust. However, be sure to watch your pasta carefully, as the cheese browns quickly.

Macaroni and cheese is Gracie’s favorite. The amount of Easy Mac that Gracie and I have consumed since college began is really quite shameful given that I want to be a chef. When we don’t have any Easy Mac in the room, Gracie resorts to microwaving scrambled eggs in a mug. So Easy Mac might not be so bad after all.

Cookies and ice cream

Dessert was Ben & Jerry’s ice cream sandwiched between homemade chocolate chip cookies. I always use this recipe from Food Network for chocolate chip cookies. I usually toss in some butterscotch chips for good measure. They’re a crowd-pleaser.

Ice cream sandwich

Cinnamon Buns ice cream is our favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s (and the one pictured here), but you can use any flavor you like.

Happy birthday, Gracie!

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