Cannabis Cookbooks Become a Major Breakthrough

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By Jennifer Kaplan | 11:57 am, March 9, 2016
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(Bloomberg) — Robyn Lawrence has a steak recipe so good it’ll make you feel high. Literally.

Seared Wagyu New York Strip with Cannabis Rub is just one of more than a hundred gourmet-inclined recipes Lawrence compiled for her Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook, now entering a second printing. Now, she’s taking her expertise right into readers’ homes with an online cooking course.

Lawrence, based in Boulder, Colorado, is one of many entrepreneurs in the $5.4 billion legal marijuana industry. Unlike pot-repreneurs selling already baked brownies, cookies and gummies, which may account for almost half of those billions, she is teaching consumers how to make the goods at home instead. Each dish—from Baked Artichoke, Crab and Cannabis Dip to Cannabis Ceviche to High Ho Pottanesca—features the nation’s favorite newly legal ingredient.

Since Cannabis Kitchen’s release in September, Lawrence has organized cooking demonstrations at hotels, arranged retreats in Colorado, and filmed that four-part online course. The class, called “Cooking with Cannabis: The Fundamentals,” will be available online in April through the Green Flower Media Academy, to anybody over 21 years of age. Lawrence will cover the basics of who, why, and how people are cooking with cannabis, with an emphasis on safety and proper dosing. Because the course offers only information, it will be accessible in any state. “We would never suggest or condone using cannabis in states where it isn’t legal,’’ she warns. (NB: Since Bloomberg is based in New York, we haven’t personally tested any recipes below.)Higher-End Niche

Lawrence got her start in the legal weed arena when, in 2009, her doctor recommended she use marijuana to help with painful cramps, but the sugar-laden edibles sold in dispensaries across the state didn’t fit with her eating habits.

“It works for a lot of people, that just isn’t how I eat,” said Lawrence, who at the time was editor-in-chief of Natural Home & Garden Magazine, a publication focused on green living.

Scouring the internet for health-conscious, delicious weed- infused recipes left her empty-handed. She found five cookbooks on the subject at the time, but they were filled with unhealthy comfort food. They were also designed in the style of classic stoner culture. Lawrence wanted a guide to making gourmet, upscale recipes that happened to use the plant.

When her 11-year run with Natural Homecame to an end in 2011, she accelerated her work to tackle the problem. And as an avowed cooking-show junkie “going back to Julia Child,” she was able to parlay those professional skills into a lifelong passion. “I’m still green girl, just a different green,” she said, noting past coverage in organic food and organic medicine. “I’ve taken a lot of classes and seen a lot of demos through my work. For me this is just a natural progression.”Slow Burn

That’s not to say it’s been an easy go.

Lawrence worked with 12 chefs hailing from California, Colorado, Oregon, and Massachusetts, plus a professional mixologist to develop recipes over the course of three years. Beyond that, it took almost two years before a publishing house would bite. In the meantime the industry, and society, has caught up to her ambition. Barnes & Noble even agreeing to carry cannabis cookbooks was a major breakthrough, according to Lawrence; the bookseller now has 14 listed on its website.

Cannabis Kitchen’s glossy hardcover is designed to fit in alongside more typical gourmet cookbooks. That’s not to say it shies away from its highlighted ingredient: The cover shows two marijuana leaves on a napkin next to a plate of pasta, and the recipes inside all have punny names using pot-culture slang. Recipes cover everything from breakfast and juices to appetizers, salads, entrees, sides, desserts, and cocktails. Clear step-by-step instructions on the plant itself, infusion and extractions, dosing, and tools are covered in depth before even getting to oils, butters, tinctures, and sweet infusions.

It’s been a particular hit with baby boomers, Lawrence said. “We thought we were behind, but we were ahead of the curve. I knew it was an important book because I needed it. I figured the world did, too.”

“The whole idea is that you wouldn’t need a separate book for entertaining, and if you want it for health that this would be like your one ‘mastering-the-art’ kind of book,’’ she said. As for the crowding marketplace, “it’s definitely more gourmet than the other ones,” she said. “Mine’s more for the upscale cook.”

For all of our readers who are at least 21 years old in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and Washington D.C., and those of you in the 23 states, D.C. and Guam with medical prescriptions, check out the recipes below.

20-Minute Cannabis Olive Oil

Adapted from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook by Robyn Griggs Lawrence / chef Chris Kilham

Makes about 1⁄4cup
 THC per cup: 283.5 milligrams *

Ingredients: 1⁄4 ounce cured cannabis flowers, finely ground 1⁄4 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil  coffee grinder 
fine mesh strainer

Method: Place cannabis into a coffee grinder and grind until powdered. The cannabis will stick to the insides of the grinder, so scrape it out thoroughly. (Be careful about licking the spoon; that’s some potent goo.) Place oil into a 6″ diameter shallow frying pan or saucepan. Using a wooden spoon, continuously stir cannabis into oil over very low simmer for 10–20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl, wide-mouth jar, or measuring cup. Twist cannabis with cheesecloth, squeezing out every last drop of oil. Compost cannabis solids. Use oil immediately or transfer oil to a clean clear or dark bottle or jar with a lid or cork. Label with the type of oil and date. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.

* DISCLAIMER: THC calculations for these recipes were made based on the assumption of 10 percent THC in the plant. That’s used as a standard, but your chances of growing or buying cannabis with 10 percent THC are extremely low. These calculations are for comparison purposes only. The potency of the material you use is the most important indicator of how a recipe will affect you.

Beginner’s Butter

Adapted from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook by Robyn Griggs Lawrence / chef Herb Seidel

Makes about 2 cups
 THC per cup: 70.9 milligrams

Ingredients: 2 cups water
 1⁄2 ounce cannabis, finely ground 1⁄2 pound butter
 fine mesh strainer cheesecloth
 airtight containers

Method: Combine cannabis and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 hour. If moisture reduces, add enough water to make 2 cups. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature (about 2 hours). Return to stove and simmer for about 1 hour.
 Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, return to saucepan and bring to simmer. Stir. Remove from flame, cover, and let cool to room temperature. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl, wide-mouth jar, or measuring cup. Pour butter through strainer to strain out cannabis. Twist cannabis with cheesecloth, squeezing out every last drop of oil. Compost cannabis solids. Transfer butter into airtight container. Refrigerate overnight. Butter will separate from water.

The next morning, run a knife around edges of container to loosen butter. Use knife to remove butter that has separated from water in bottom of container. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and strain remaining butter. Place butter in airtight containers, label, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months or the freezer for up to 6 months.

Cannabis Ceviche

Adapted from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook by Robyn Griggs Lawrence / chef Herb Seidel

Serves 6–8
 THC per serving:
 10 milligrams with 20-Minute Cannabis Olive Oil

Ingredients: 2 pounds firm, fresh red snapper fillets (or other firm- fleshed fish), completely deboned and cut into 1⁄2″ pieces 1⁄2 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice
 1⁄2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
 1⁄4 cup cannabis-infused olive oil
 1⁄2 red onion, finely diced
 1 cup fresh seeded tomatoes, chopped
 1 serrano chili, seeded and finely diced
 2 teaspoons salt
 dash ground oregano
 dash Tabasco or light pinch cayenne pepper

Method: Gently stir together ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Make sure oil soaks into fish. Refrigerate in a covered, labeled airtight container overnight. Serve with chips.

Baked Artichoke, Crab, and Cannabis Dip

Adapted from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook by Robyn Griggs Lawrence / chef Herb Seidel

Serves 4–6
 THC per serving:
 6 milligrams with Beginner’s Butter

Ingredients: 1⁄2 tablespoon cannabis-infused olive oil 1⁄2 small green pepper, finely chopped 1⁄2 small red pepper, finely chopped 
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, finely chopped
 1⁄2 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional) 3⁄4 cup mayonnaise
 1⁄4 cup cannabis-infused butter, soft 1⁄4 cup scallions, sliced thin
 1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
 1⁄2 teaspoon celery salt 
1⁄2 pound crab meat, picked through to remove shells 1⁄4 cup sliced almonds, toasted 
tortilla chips, toast points, or carrot sticks for serving 6″x 9″ glass or ceramic baking dish

Method: Preheat oven to 375°F and grease baking dish. In a small skillet, sauté olive oil and bell peppers until tender. In a large bowl, combine bell peppers with artichokes, jalapeño, mayonnaise, butter, scallions, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire, celery salt, crab meat, and almonds. Mix well. Place mixture in baking dish and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool slightly (so that it’s safe to handle) and serve with tortilla chips, toast points, or carrot sticks.

High Ho Pottanesca

Adapted from The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook by Robyn Griggs Lawrence / chef Chris Kilham

Serves 6
 THC per serving:
 3 milligrams with 20-Minute Cannabis Olive Oil

Ingredients: 1⁄4 cup 20-Minute Cannabis Olive Oil 2 medium red onions
 8–10 cloves organic garlic
 1 28-ounce can crushed organic tomatoes
 handful black pitted oil-cured olives 2 or 3 whole hot chilies (whatever looks good) salt, to taste handful of capers dash tamari sauce 1 bunch fresh basil, finely chopped 
handful of fresh oregano, finely chopped splash of organic red wine
 parmesan cheese, grated (as much as you like) 2-ounce can anchovies, mashed
 1 package quality spaghetti, cooked

Method: In a large skillet, heat cannabis-infused olive oil over medium- high heat. Stir in onions and garlic. Sauté until caramelized, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Simmer until sauce is thickened and slightly reduced, about 30 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste, cover, and set aside. Make spaghetti and drain. 
Add sauce to cooked pasta and toss.


This article was written by Jennifer Kaplan from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.