The stoner food trend, led by pothead chefs around the country, is all about including silly amounts of fat and carbs, deep-frying things that should never be deep-fried and featuring pork products of all shapes and sizes. But real stoner food – as in, dishes laced with cannabis – are often made in a different spirit entirely. Elise McDonough should know — she wrote the recently released Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook.
As you might expect, the book has its share of recipes for cookies, brownies and other baked goods. But many of the featured “Irie Appetizers” and “Munchie Meals” are actually pretty healthy. You may be surprised to find dishes like Green Leafy Kale Salad in Brown Cannabutter Vinaigrette and Tom Yum Ganja. The late James “Chef Ra” Wilson, who wrote the longstanding recipe column in High Times magazine, was a vegetarian, as many Rastafarians are. And McDonough, who took on this ambitious cookbook project, also favors a diet that isn’t focused on meat. Having said that, carnivorous stoners will be happy to hear that Cheeto Fried Chicken and Pot-and-Pancetta-Stuffed Beef Tenderloin both made the cut.
Along with the recipes, the book is loaded with practical information about cooking with cannabis. Perhaps the most surprising nugget is that marijuana doesn’t have to get your high. No, seriously. McDonough says that raw cannabis, fresh from the earth, isn’t a stimulant. It can, however, be a potent anti-inflammatory and immune booster.
“You can use it for health by juicing the leaves in a vegetable juicer with carrots or whatever else. Or, you can have it like a wheatgrass shot,” she suggests.
Of course, most people cook with cannabis precisely to feel the effects. For these folks, the book offers clever tips and general guidance, from how to ensure your brownies are moist and delicious to how to deal with a bad trip.
“Overdoing it is always the biggest mistake,” says McDonough. “If you put too much in or eat too much, you can have an experience that some people might find very unpleasant. It’s important to remember that, if you do overdo it, nothing bad is going to happen to you. You’re just going to have to take a nap for a while and when you wake up you’re going to be fine.”
She says low and slow are good rules both for cooking, and eating, weed. When you’re eating it, start with a low dose and wait for an hour or two to see how it affects you before you eat more. When you’re cooking it or preparing butter or oil infusions, keep them at a low temperature and cook them over a period of an hour or more.
“It’s important to remember that if you eat cannabis it can affect you in a more intense way than when you smoke it,” McDonough adds. “Edible cannabis takes a long time to hit you and it can last anywhere from three to six hours. That’s what usually happens: you have your first brownie in college or something and think you’re having a panic attack. It’s important to ease in to it.”
So, what are some of her favorite recipes from the book?
“I personally love the pumpkin pie recipe that’s on the cover. It’s really great. I’m a big fan of pumpkin pie.”
We could go for a pie high right about now ourselves.