There's a pretty cool group I've been following for about a year and a half now. I was introduced to them over at the Nerdy Nomad blog. She's done a couple trips with them. So, anyway, a group called All Hands Volunteers does disaster response stuff- rubble removal, clean up after floods, building transitional housing and schools, hygiene education, that kinda thing.
They've been in Haiti, in a city called Leogane, since about a month after the earthquake there last year and they're planning to be there until December this year. Right now two of their top people are *also* in Japan, trying to work out if they can do a project there, too. Obviously there's need, but they still need permission and whatnot from local governments and people, and to figure out where to go and what the main project would even be.
I'm not going to lie, I'd love to go clear debris in Japan. It's freakishly expensive to get over there, though. It's also freakishly expensive for the charity to run two big projects on opposite ends of the earth. Right now they're raising funds to build "temporary" schools in Haiti, keep the volunteers there fed, housed, and internetted (about US$8-15 per volunteer per day), plus a bunch of other Haiti programs, *and* starting to build up relief funding for Japan. So if you can see your way to donating anything to them, they do kick-ass good work. Or if you're interested in going over if/ when they launch a project in Japan, you can get on a list for that too. I think they also have a American Airlines charity-mile-thing number, if you're a frequent traveler with them.
Which isn't to say that if I get a chance I won't go, I'd just have to do a heck of a lot of personal fundraising to get my butt to either place. Um, and, of course, more for them, too....
Right, enough serious. On to the food.
So I don't use much milk. It's silly to buy it, 'cause I use so little (like, um, none, even now). It goes bad before I can work my way through even the tiniest box. I also like "creamy" sauces. About a week ago, though, during one of the more social hostel dinners, someone made a creamy red sauce that had me wondering why I hadn't thought of it. Actually, I'm sure most of you already know this one, but I'll share it anyway.
Cream cheese doesn't go bad easily. Even the vegan stuff. It melts and adds a slightly creamy flavor/ texture to the food. If you don't melt it before adding it to your sauce, it may look a bit like curdled milk, and it can look a bit like cat puke while you stir it in, too, but it's actually pretty good.
Easy Creamy Red Sauce (with Vodka, Red Wine, or Nothing)
- 1/2 onion, peeled and diced (or to taste)
- 1/2-1C tomato sauce
- 1 clove garlic, diced
- 1T oil
- ~1T Cream Cheese (vegan or not)
- up to 1/4C booze of choice
- water if sauce is too thick
- spices to taste
Start your pasta water, then chop the onions and start them in the oil over medium/ high heat. Add salt to keep them from burning and stir as needed. When translucent, add garlic, turn down temp. About 8 minutes before pasta is done, add booze, and cook off alcohol for a couple seconds. Add tomato sauce and heat through, turn down temp. Mix in cream cheese (and some water if the sauce is too thick), until sauce is even creamy red and no clumps of "cheese" remain. Toss drained pasta in sauce and serve. Feeds about one normal person, so guesstimate out for more.
Also, be careful when adding the cheese- there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and more than about 1T/person will almost deff. be overkill. Better to add too little then too much.
Anyone else tried this? It's simple enough that I'm sure it's really popular and I just never heard of it.