We Had Dinner With the “Julia Child of Weed”
In our (sort of) post-legalization cannabis utopia, where smoking rates aren’t appreciably higher and marijuana tax revenues are “sky high,” issues remain. Such as: how to make (and eat) an edible without turning yourself into a puddle of inert, half-conscious, human-like substance.
There are three primary pain points to consider here:
1) They taste … well, all over the map, but usually err on the side of bad.
2) Even when they’re good, getting them primarily requires a third-party transaction.
3) It’s hard to figure out how they’ll affect you without them, you know, affecting you.
Enter Jeff the 420 Chef, who’s branched out from private weed cooking classes to release his first cookbook, out this week.
“I’m the only one teaching you how to do this — making edibles at home — and how to do it right,” says the affable Chef, whom I meet at a kitchen in an undisclosed location. He’s teaching me how to make a cannabis-infused Irish Cream that’s both delicious and, shall we say, “effective.”
Jeff (who understandably only goes by his moniker) used to be an executive VP for marketing at a large fashion retailer. But after his friend’s mother got sick and he had some personal setbacks, he decided to leave New York for California and pursue a wildly different career.
Turns out cooking cannabis-infused meals for his friend’s mother was just the first part of a much longer journey. It helped him develop processes for improving the taste of the food he was making and account for the dishes’ potency. “Most people who are ill, they don’t want to feel any effects,” he says. “They just want to feel better.”
For our private demonstration, this is not the case. “You’re taking the train, not driving, right?” he says, laughing. “The effects will take about two hours.”
The Irish Cream is one of 200+ recipes available in The 420 Gourmet: The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine, released just this week. Jeff’s first cookbook has been dubbed “the foodie’s guide to cannabis,” and it’s full of great food you can make simply in your own kitchen with homemade cannabutters and cannaoils, and using methods that will ensure you know exactly what dosage you’re getting.
“Start with the cannabis itself. When you buy cannabis, you don’t know where it comes from, if it’s clean, if not treated properly, all that,” he says. “That’s why, for the first two days, you have to soak it in distilled water to leach out the impurities, then blanch it and decarb it.”
A long discussion on THC, CBD and something called “terpenes” follows. But the takeaway is this: Jeff’s trying to make edibles a known quantity, both in taste and potency. And after reading his book, you’ll be able to retrofit his lessons into your own favorite recipes.
Some fun things I pick up during the cooking class: When cooking for others, Jeff prefers “layered micro-dosing,” meaning dishes with small amounts of THC (he never likes going above 10mg … our drink has about five). And you really don’t want to go over 365 degrees, or you’ll burn off the good stuff. Lastly, most edibles don’t metabolize for about two hours.
The Irish Cream, as a liquid, works a bit faster. The “a-ha” moment hits me about 30 minutes after our meeting, during a walk to a local bar. A light mellowness creeps over me, and lingers for the better part of the evening.
Conclusion: Jeff’s Irish Cream is delicious. And it does exactly what he promises it will.
Two more victories in the pot bottle.
Jeff’s 420 Irish Cream
Number of servings: Six
1 ½ cups Jameson Irish whisky (we are going to boil out the alcohol content)
5 Ice cubes
6 KIVA Terra Espresso beans (5mg each)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 shot of espresso or 1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup Sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon Hershey’s chocolate syrup
- Bring Irish whisky to a boil over a Medium/Low flame for five minutes to reduce and boil off the alcohol content.
- To finish, (this is fun but be very careful!), using a long neck lighter, ignite the whisky in the the pot. A light blue flame will burn on top of the alcohol for about two minutes until it has all evaporated. Set aside to cool.
- In a blender add ice cubes, vanilla, espresso, heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk, Jameson and Kiva Terra Espresso beans.
- Blend until smooth and creamy.