This is my roommate 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.
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
Citrus Garlic Tofu
2 cloves garlic, minced
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!