meave gallagher

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Vegan Black Metal Chef returns with episode 13: vegan lasagna! Have you ever chopped mushrooms with an axe? (Is that an axe?) Then you haven’t chopped a mushroom, friend.

I will note that adding salt to boiling water doesn’t help your noodles boil any faster, so save your NaCl for the rest of the recipe. Now let’s get cooking!

Recipe: Pumpkin butter is so easy, why aren't you making it already?

It’s the simplest thing in the world; you barely need a recipe. Let me walk you through it.


Take a sugar pie pumpkin. Halve it, gut it. Line a baking dish (NOT A COOKIE SHEET) with parchment paper and put your twin pumpkin halves in it.

Bake at 350 for an hour or so, until your pumpkin looks like this:

I poked mine with a knife a few times to check for doneness. It’s like baking any squash; you want it to be soft but not mushy, lest it melt.

Allow to cool a bit, then scrape all the pumpkiny flesh from the skin and deposit it in a food processor (not a blender, unless you have a VitaMix or similar super-machine). You can add something like lemon juice as a contrast/preservative, or do what I did, which was add some homemade apple butter, which isn’t nearly as sour as lemon juice and may contribute to the depth of flavor. Blend some more.

Now add your sugar. I used a brown sugar, about ½ cup to 4 lbs. of pumpkin, but it’s really to taste. This is your pumpkin butter! I also added a whole bunch of garam masala (more interesting that “pumpkin pie mix” plus cheaper because you can buy it in a bag in the “international foods” section near all the dried chiles), some vanilla, a little salt. Blend until smooth, adjusting the ingredients for taste. If it won’t blend, add water until it does. Don’t worry.

Move your pumpkin butter from the food processor to a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn the fire down low, cover it with a nice mesh splatter screen, and let it cook down. Depending on how much liquid you had to add, and how thick you want it, the mixture can take from 30 minutes to many hours to cook down. Again, don’t worry.

Once it’s achieved optimal thickness, take it off the stove and let it cool. Put in in jars, and take vanity pictures for the internet.

Congratulations, you have homemade pumpkin butter! Which you made by mostly applying heat!

Finally, a tip if, like me, you add too much lemon juice/sugar/whatever and fuck it all up: Just bake a new pumpkin, blend it up, and add it to the weird stuff in a bigger pot. Apply heat, adjust for taste. Eventually, instead of a single batch of not-right pumpkin butter, you will have a double batch of delicious pumpkin butter. Foist it on your friends and family if you’re afraid you won’t eat it all (you will). Look, you are a genius at fall foods!

Why are tens of thousands of pigs dying in China?

NPR investigates, but fails to find out why 18,000 pigs died during January and February in the Zhejiang village of Zhulin, or why nearly 3,000 dead pigs were found in the Huangpu River last week. The Huangpu supplies Shanghai with drinking water.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post quoted Zhejiang villagers saying farmers dumped pigs in the river because there were too many for government disposal areas. In addition, villagers said some farmers may have dumped pigs because of a crackdown on selling diseased pigs for human consumption.

Pork is the most popular meat in China. Half the world’s pigs live there, as The Salt has previously reported. China’s state media reported this week that 46 people have been jailed in Zhejiang for selling diseased pigs. Last year, police in the province confiscated about 11 tons of meat from sick pigs, according to the state-run China Daily.

The only things we know for sure is that those pigs lived terrible lives, and that they didn’t deserve whatever awful death came to them. Better check the sources of all your pork products, omnivores.

[Photo by Wolfgang Staudt via Flickr]

The New York Times asks, Can vegans and carnivores get along? "Duh, of course," says Moby

Seems like the New York Times is opening its innocent baby eyes to the realities of vegan life, i.e., it’s ridiculously great to be vegan these days, and also, we can get along with omnivores just fine.

Who agrees? Moby, our elfin mascot for do-gooding white guys.

If we go back 25 years, there was a lot more intolerance in the vegan world. … There was a lot more militant us-and-them approach. And that, to a large extent, seems to have fallen by the wayside, both from a vegan perspective and from the non-vegan perspective. Vegans are perfectly happy now, for the most part, to hang out with people who don’t agree with them 100 percent And maybe one or two nights a week, carnivores seem pretty happy to go to a vegetarian restaurant.

What do you all think? I mean, until animal agriculture becomes so globally unsustainable that people are forced to stop eating meat, we vegans can’t live isolated from non-vegans. So let’s live in tandem, drag them along to our wonderful restaurants, woo them with baked goods, and teach them of our ways.

And I know, when you talk about it like this, veganism sounds like a total cult, but we’re not crazy; we’re right. Also, Moby thinks we’re better looking, which is totally true, right?

I was out to dinner last night at a Japanese vegan restaurant downtown, and I’m 47, and most of my friends were in their 30s and 40s, and I was looking around and to some extent I felt they had all discovered this fountain of youth. … I’m not even going to include myself in this, because I think I look kind of old and homeless. But the people I was eating with, they all looked at least 10 years younger than they actually were. And all of them had been vegetarian or vegan for at least 20 years.

[Photo by S. Diddy via Flickr]