If you've turned on the TV lately, or maybe found yourself in certain high-end kitchens in America, you might notice a new green on the menu, one you might smell before you taste it. Now that cannabis is legal in some form or another in more than half of the States, some of the nation's top chefs are finding ways to integrate it into their recipes.
Suffice it to say, the pot brownie has come a long way.
"There is such a huge bridge from the brownie to where we are today," said chef Miguel Trinidad, who is known for his time on the Vice show "Bong Appétit." "We're cooking racks of lamb. We're making intricate desserts. We're doing 10-course tasting menus that are strain-specific. Now, there's different levels of extractions and distillates that you can use in order to achieve the effect, without the flavor or with the flavor."
These days Trinidad hosts semi-clandestine, semi-legal pop-up dinners through his company 99th Floor, dinners in which everything is infused.
Correspondent Luke Burbank asked, "Where actually is the cannabis?"
"It's in many different stages," Trinidad laughed. "In the demi for the steak, we took some of the beef fat and infused that, and then put that back into the demi. Here is some cannabis butter; this has been cooked at extremely low temperature for a long time because I wanted to draw out a lot of terpenes without making it taste too weedy."
Terpenes are the chemical compounds in cannabis that give it that characteristic funky smell and taste, and which can make it a challenge to cook with, even for noted Portland cookbook author Laurie Wolf.
"Learning how to cook with it is kind of learning how to cook with a really dreadful-tasting spice," she said.
Wolf has written five cookbooks on the subject, earning her the title back in 2017 of the "Martha Stewart of Edibles." When she and other chefs cook with cannabis, they say the key is to be extremely precise with the dosage going into, say, a butter board made with "Canna-Butter."
Wolf said the key when eating infused food is to be very extremely patient in waiting for the effects to set in, lest you go on a trip you didn't mean to buy a ticket for. "It can take two, it can even take three hours on occasion, depending on when you've eaten, what your metabolism is like," she said.
Back in Brooklyn, Tiffany Spann attended her second 99th Floor cannabis dinner in two weeks, which she'd found out about on Instagram. "For me, it's about the delicious meal and the cannabis is, like, extra," she said.
Burbank asked her, "Can you feel the vibe shift as the night goes on and people are starting to enjoy themselves?"
"Yeah. People talk to each other. Everyone started loosening up. I could see the whole table, so, yeah, people do start to get louder and happier."
As the night wore on, Trinidad's dinner moved into full swing. A parade of sumptuous plates was served, and the music of Wu Tang Clan bumped through the speakers. It truly was a meal for both the body and the soul.
Cannabis Recipes from Laurie Wolf:
For more info:
- Follow chef Miguel Trinidad on Twitter and Instagram
- "Bong Appetit" (Vice TV)
- 99th Floor (Instagram)
- "Cooking with Cannabis: Delicious Recipes for Edibles and Everyday Favorites" by Laurie Wolf (Crestline Books), in Hardcover and eBook formats, available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound
Story produced by Anthony Laudato. Editor: Joseph Frandino.
Check out thefor more menu suggestions, from all of the chefs, cookbook authors, flood writers and restaurateurs featured on our program.
And head to New York Times Cooking for more delicious Thanksgiving recipes.
for more features.