Monday, November 15, 2010

Serving...the City, Cake and Lo-Mein

This weekend was busy. And full of serving all sorts of things! On Saturday, we teamed up with some other organizations in the area to participate in "Serve the City Geneva". I tried to capture some of the day but you can see the official, high-resolution pictures from a real photographer here.

Our team split up to do a lot of different things, so David and I started off in the kitchen, making soup for homeless people.

I had to cut the middle out of the inside of garlic cloves. I had no idea that this was an important thing to do. Did you? Do you cut the middle out of your garlic? 

Then we set off on our own to find some more of the city to serve. We started off at a chocolate store, and let a nice man serve delicate Swiss chocolate to us. Check out their fabulous website here.

After a spin around the city, picking up trash and doing other service-y things, we met back up for lunch and to get ready for the last part of the day: Free hugs!

A lot of people on the street were creeped out by the idea of free hugs, but we didn't take no for an answer and hugged everyone and their brother. You're welcome, citizens of Geneva.

Back at the base, the baby cows were in the barn and just begging to be played with. Okay, no, they were scared of us but eventually they came around and one even put my whole hand in his mouth. Milking a cow is on my checklist of things to do in Switzerland, and this was kind of close.

Our friend, Carolyn, turned the big 2-4 on Saturday but Geneva wiped everyone out, so we had a little party for her on Sunday. Her husband, Dad, suggested oatmeal raisin cookies so I gave Paula Deen's Loaded Oatmeal Cookie recipe a try.

I omitted all of the nuts, and used all butter instead of shortening (which I don't think exists here...), but otherwise stuck to the recipe, and I think they were pretty good. A lot more "spicy" than your typical oatmeal raisin cookie but hey, it's fall and nothing says "fall" like a plethora of spices.

I was a little hesitant about the brown butter icing, especially after it burnt in the pan. The recipe calls for a couple tablespoons of water to thin it out, but I'm pretty sure I used at least half a cup. I had no idea if it would dry hard or soft and a taste test revealed that the icing was super sweet so I just drizzled the cookies, but I think next time I'd put a more generous layer on. And for the record, the icing hardens up when dry.

Carolyn's family makes the same Betty Crocker yellow cake (with pudding!) with chocolate icing for every single birthday, so Elaine went out to the American store just to buy the mix and make the cake. Sinking my teeth into the magical combination of yellow cake and chocolate frosting gave me a serious longing for America. And major sugar-belly.

We finished off the weekend with a 3 hour dinner at Mekong in Nyon with Filo, Sarah and Deborah. We were craving Chinese food and a trip out of the base and Mekong delivered. Sort of. Food here is just really expensive, and the service was mediocre. The company was awesome though, and I'm pretty sure that soy sauce is the answer to most of life's problems.

Hope your weekend was as eventful as ours!

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