A sequel to the Viceland web series, Bong Appetite collects dozens of recipes from chefs for cooking with cannabis at home.
The 1968 Peter Sellers eruption I love you, Alice B. Toklas is a rom-com about a petty lawyer who accidentally gives his family weed brownies. It credits Gertrude Stein’s San Francisco-born wife because Toklas’ 1954 cookbook contained a recipe for “Haschich fudge.” Despite the curious spelling mistake, that deceptively devilish recipe has been the basis of many dorm room disasters, as students overdo it infusing the butter, impatiently eating a third brownie, and then spending three days in the stratosphere.
California, like other enlightened states, now has all the legal edibles anyone could wish for, with the THC content on the package. But the allure of home cooking with cannabis has never faded, and who else to save us from Toklas’ clutches but the team of MUNCHIES? After months of searching and re-testing recipes from chefs in the US, the result is: Bong Appetit: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Weed (Ten Speed Press), which came out October 2. It was rigorous work.
“Every infusion we did was lab tested so we could get our dosing right,” MUNCHIES culinary director Farideh Sadeghin tells SF Evergreen. ‘But all the equipment you should have in your ‘personal kitchen lab’. ”
Thumbs up Bong Appetite, you come away with two different impressions. One of them is obvious: this cookbook is full of delicious recipes (hello, octopus confit and Bananas Foster!). The second, however, is a bit more surprising: instead of discovering clever methods to mask the taste and aroma of cannabis, MUNCHIES team chose to find ways to link it. They love the smell of terpenes and they want you to appreciate it too – a secondary consequence of the fact that marijuana has gotten so much better than it used to be.
“When I was in college, I used to cook with weed and make brownies and stuff, it tasted awful,” Sadeghin says. “You can go to pharmacies and talk to your weedtender and ask for advice on what a strain tastes like and pair it with a dish you’re cooking. I find it an exciting ingredient to work with.”
Bong Appetite is intended for the reasonably experienced home cook – so if you blanch with terms like ‘decarboxylated’ you should get over it quickly as that’s the only way these recipes will get you high. (The term refers to extracting THC from the flower.) However, Sadeghin says, everything has been tested separately without cannabis, so she can vouch for the inherent deliciousness of each dish (just in case you want to bake first, then cook). ).
In general, the science is helpful and not overwhelming, focused on building people’s instincts. Slow and slow cooking, also known as ‘sous weed’, is a much better bet than baking over high heat, as THC cooks at 314 degrees. Among the recipes for nachos and pork wontons are more sophisticated dishes such as swordfish teriyaki and rib eye with weed chimichurri. There are explanations on myrcene vs linalool, along with more practical tips. (A bit too high? Chew on black peppercorns.)
An outgrowth of the MUNCHIES’ testing kitchen policies to reduce waste where possible, the book has a ‘projects’ section that takes a closer look at things that Sadeghin says ‘take a little more time and love’, such as a cannabis pesto, a ‘ganja gravlax’ or a jar of pepperoni. Sadeghin says she was amazed at how versatile cannabis leaves can be, the lack of psychoactive substances is doomed.
“They won’t confuse you, but just taking the leaves and using the whole plant was really interesting and very valuable – a zero waste product,” she says. ‘They have taste and they are decorative, like on top of the focaccia. They are as beautiful as they stand out – and in kimchi. You don’t just have to use it in oils and infusions to get stoned. You can use the leaves like you would use kale or whatever.”
Marijuana kimchi sounds like stacking funkiness on funkiness, but Holden Jagger’s recipe from LA’s culinary collective Altered Plates makes a compelling case (though you’ll need a whole pound of leaves). Of course, in a book that charts new culinary ground—and encourages its readers to play with their own ideas—it’s also important to recognize what isn’t working. There was really only one failure.
“We messed with infused sugar, but we couldn’t get that right,” Sadeghin says. “But the nice thing is that there are many different ways” to get cannabis into food.
With pappardelle bolognese, for example, you can let the sauce steep or fry the onions in butter. With party cake, you can pull the buttercream frosting or the olive oil that goes into the cake itself.
“It’s almost a pick-your-own-adventure,” added Sadeghin.
Many of the chefs she and the team worked with had appeared on Viceland in a certain capacity. Some have their own edible lines, while others – surprisingly – have never cooked with cannabis before. Among the James Beard winners and Michelin-starred champions are figures like Don Lee, a bartender’s bartender and toast to PUNCH magazine whose “nitrous green dragon” is the basis for many of bong appetit’s infused cocktails. The one from San Francisco Deuki Hong, by Sunday Bird, submitted a recipe for Korean fried chicken that Sadeghin says is one of her favorites (along with the North African broccoli salad).
“I think broccoli is an underrated vegetable in general, and I love dates,” she says. “I’ll be making some recipes from the book next week to celebrate, like the Korean fried chicken — and nachos, too.”
Apparently the classics aren’t classics for nothing.