As my interest in wild experimentation in the kitchen when it comes to Cannabis and my favorite potables and edibles has grown, my level of research on the topic has grown in proportion. During one such well-medicated adventure on the internet in search of more appealing recipes I stumbled upon a blog dedicated to the subject.
Not only had Jessica Catalano of The Ganja Kitchen Revolution put together an appealing blog, but had also had a cookbook published on the subject via Green Candy Press. This book "The Ganja Kitchen Revolution: The Bible of Cannabis Cuisine" not only possesses a wide variety of tasty recipes, but also some user-friendly guides on how to create your own extracts at home. New to getting your hands dirty in the kitchen when it comes to some medicated creations? This book might just be what you need to impress company before you crush them with your potent edibles and lock them down on your couch.
Jessica has graciously taken the time to share a bit with us regarding her book, blog, Cannabis in the kitchen, and how to make extracts! Let's see what kind of culinary madness we can get ourselves into!
Q: What initially inspired you to venture into the realm of medible creations?
A: I started smoking in 7th grade in which I realized what a savior cannabis was for me. Little did I know, my lifelong passion and love affair with food was destined to cross paths with my passion and love affair with cannabis. Cooking and baking for me was a medium for me to express my love towards people and take care of them. Call it fate, destiny, or whatever term you would like to use, and the two worlds collided beautifully. At this young age I began experimenting first at a friend's house then secretly at home in my parent's house with the realm of edible MMJ.
Q: How would you say the legalization in Colorado has evolved the Cannabis industry? Has it had any noticeable effect on the classic social stigmas in that neck of the woods?
A: With the passing of legalization in Colorado, a lot of things are changing in the industry. Recreational stores will not be able to acquire licenses to open till next year (2014) which leaves established Medical Marijuana dispensaries to refine their business plans. Right now, under Amendment 64, it is legal for person to person exchange of MMJ as a "gift" or if an ounce or less of cannabis shall happen to fall out of the sky into your lap, you cannot be punished criminally for the sky-fallen chron. Medical Marijuana Dispensaries however, can continue to operate under the established medical model or choose to be first in line to open a recreational store next year with the added bonus of a reduced state application fee.
Legalization in Colorado is a prime example of the people saying we are ready for this era of Reefer Madness to be over. It seems more and more people who you thought wouldn't be tolerant with the medical and/or recreational use of this plan, are now supporting it. As I have told people repeatedly over many years, no government entity has the right to say that a naturally occurring plant on this earth is illegal or legal. Nor, should they have the power to say that we can or cannot put this plant into our bodies. It is our human right to choose to use cannabis or not, not the government. The more people realize this, the more you will see people who don't even partake in this phenomenal plant, supporting it. They can see the person with cancer utilizing its effects, they can see that this is a human rights issue; they can see how the plant doesn't hurt anyone but in fact heals people and creates a better quality of life. How can one be mad at that?
Q: I'm sure this is a difficult question to answer so feel free to take a moment and seriously ponder it; what is your favorite recipe?
A: I knew this one was coming! And it is very difficult to answer. In a way, all of my recipes are my favorites. I say this because all my recipes are forms of art, and each one has a piece of my creative energy in it. The recipes I create are pleasurable sensory experiences that are vessels for medicine that I personally enjoy. You will never see me making medicated okra, because I think okra is vile. My recipes are all my favorites in their own unique way. But, if I absolutely HAD to pick just one, it would be the Vietnamese Lemon Kush Spring Rolls from my book. This recipe is healthy and delicious eye candy that is incredibly easy to make in the privacy of your own home.
Q: Could you elaborate for us regarding the importance of strain-specific cooking/baking?
A: Strain specific cooking and baking is all about pairing specific strains with specific dishes to enhance the flavor profiles of the dishes being created. I started doing this when I moved to Colorado in 2007 because I realized through experimentation of cooking cannabutter, that I stumbled upon an innovative way that would impart the flavor of the strains being used enjoyably into the butter. What this means, is that I can take the strain Strawberry Cough and extract the strawberry flavor so that it imparts a strawberry flavor into a recipe such as Strawberry Shortcake. It is important, not only because it is revolutionary but because it creates the best sensory experience possible for medical patients. No longer do you have to worry about horrid tasting edibles, and you are not wasting the precious terpenes that the beautiful buds possess. Instead, you are using strains just like you would spices, to make dishes taste better than before.
Q: What kind of health benefits can one expect from regularly including Cannabis in their food items?
A: Cannabis creates a whole slew of health benefits when a person includes it into their diets regularly. Relief from chronic pain, migraine relief, slows tumor growth and can cure cancer, reduced blood pressure, prevents Alzheimer's, protects neurons in your brain, helps your muscles recover after a hard work out, prevents seizures, provides relief for people with OCD, reduces the severity of people with ADD and ADHD, reduces inflammation, stops nausea, provides stimulation for people who cannot eat due to sickness or anorexia, treats glaucoma, helps treat spasticity in Multiple Sclerosis, and relief from depression are just the tip of the iceberg to the awesome benefits this plant brings to the table.
Q: There is mention of a variety of ways to reduce Cannabis to extracts. What techniques can readers expect to learn from the Bible of Cannabis Cuisine regarding extracts?
A: Readers can expect to learn 10 different extraction methods in my book. Oil, alcohol, nut butters, butter, dry heat (decarboxylation), and coconut oil are just a few examples. This book has everything you need to guide you into the realm of edibles.
Q: At one point I had made a batch of medicated chili and had gotten a little aggressive with my dosing and it resulted in me having to go to a meeting with a client of mine as I struggled to keep it together. Any similar stories a factor in your decision to include the dosing chart in your book?
A: Oh, yes! It too was of my own doing. I was researching on dosing with ABV (already been vaped) cannabis in edibles and I had read on a discussion that you should double the dose for it to be effective. Knowing I had to test this, I decided to make ABV Oatmeal Cranberry Raisin Cookies. I followed this cannabutter recipe and added it to my cookie recipe to experience the results with a friend. So what happened? I ended up consuming 4 grams of ABV cookies which was highly psychedelic yet highly introspective. While I had stumbled down the rabbit hole, my friend started to freak out and I ended up having to talk down a 911 responder (completely Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style high) down citing my EMT credentials. I don't want anyone to go through that, but I also do not want anyone to be under medicated either, as that can be equally unfortunate. Thus, my dosing chart was born.
Q: Do you have any previous culinary training or experience?
A: I double majored as a Pastry Chef and Culinary Chef, and now I am back in school pursuing a Culinary Arts Management Degree, to have the most well rounded Culinary education possible. I worked in bistro's and a lakeside eatery back when I was living in Upstate NY, bakeries in the Denver area and a French Bistro are where I gained a lot of experience as well.
Q: Since Colorado legalized and this multi-faceted industry began to arise have you personally seen any change in the social perception of Cannabis users?
A: Yes, first hand. Finally, people are seeing that so called "stoners" are actually just as productive if not more than non-"stoners". I always fought for this perception (through my words and actions) throughout the years and faced so much resistance. Now, many people are finally seeing through these social stigma's and seeing the reality of the situation. The tide is finally starting to turn.
Q: What kind of difference in terms of taste can result in experimenting with a variety of strains?
A: The primary flavors in strains are sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory which combine to create a "flavor profile". This flavor profile can be further related with the aromas of the cannabis thus creating a pleasant sensory experience when imparted into food. This allows you to pair specific strains that possess a certain flavor profile with recipes, that will make your taste buds sing. But be forewarned, any "salty" tasting cannabis is usually a direct result of using chemical flushes or chemicals during the growing process. You are using the cannabis to elevate the flavors in the dish as well as medicating it.
Q: I was perusing your blog and stumbled across a post titled "Pets and Edibles". What can you share with us regarding that topic?
A: Edibles for pets in very minute doses, can actually be therapeutic for animals such as dogs or cats. But, in higher doses, there have been cases where seizures, coma, neurological depression, and dehydration have been reported. I myself, have been told that a dog could have a seizure or die. But vets didn't factor in the medium which the cannabis was consumed by the pet, so who knows if this is really true? If a dog ate an edible containing chocolate and bananas, that right there is a recipe for disaster as both are toxic to dogs. Again, proper dosing and a proper medium are agents in this equation. Given the right dose, it will be therapeutic and good for the animal. It can help such things as cancer, anxiety, arthritis, aggression, hip or joint problems, pain relief, glaucoma, and skin conditions to name a few. And one more thing to make you feel even better about the wonderful things cannabis does for animals, is that no dog or cat has been reported to have died from cannabis consumption. My little Jack Tzu consumed two ounces of stolen strained buds from cannabutter I had made one night. Yes, she was higher than cloud nine but she survived without any devastating effects. In fact, I felt she matured mentally (no more unrolling multiple spools of yarn and wrapping the furniture in the living room with rainbow colored strings).
Q: It would seem your book and blog are gaining renown at an alarming rate! I know you're due to make your appearance on 420 Radio here soon. What other kinds of attention has your project received as of late?
A: I made an appearance on 420 Radio which was an amazing experience and it felt so good to talk to like-mined people. My project has also attracted attention from the Colorado Springs Independent, SKUNK Magazine, ReLeaf Magazine, LadyBud Magazine, CULTURE Magazine's webpage, various websites, and other local newspapers. I will be contributing content on a regular basis for recipes in the amazing SKUNK Magazine, which will start in the next issue as the Food Contributor. And also keep your eye out for an upcoming magazine started by the beautiful soul Diane Fornbacher called LadyBud Magazine. I as well as other amazing women, will be contributing to this magazine. I am just incredibly fortunate and blessed that people appreciate the work I am doing and support me wanting to create a better quality of life for people.
Q: So the blog evolved into a book being published. What's next on the agenda for Operation TGKR?
A: Something very special and unique is in the works and will be soon unveiled here in Colorado. But, it is a surprise, so you all need to wait and find out :)
Q: I love the look on people's faces when I tell them I love to include some high grade in my vegetable juicing action. What kind of health benefits can one expect from getting in on that?
A: I first stumbled upon juicing raw cannabis when I reading research done on the subject by Dr. William L. Courtney. I took his knowledge close to my heart but applied my own thought processes and created my own style of raw cannabis juicing. I started juicing using strain specific fan leaves to not only get specific flavors in the juice but to also harness the healing properties that each plant offers up. When you drink a serving of cannabis juice it will be full of CBD's which will relieve nausea, anxiety, inflammation, debilitating illnesses, act as an effective treatment against cancer and pack a high nutritional punch. Raw cannabis juice also has a very high vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant properties without getting the consumer high. The juice also creates a mental wellbeing, upbeat mental focus, and a feeling of being centered. If you want to read more about my journey into juicing, read my article in Releaf Magazine's December 2012 Issue- Check it out here: http://issuu.com/whoisitguy/docs/dec_fin12?mode=mobile#222222
Well thank you for taking the time to chat us up on such a fun topic, Jessica. I am always pleased to hear tales of those that have embraced an evolving industry in such a stylish fashion. I have scoped several recipes from TGKR and I strongly suggest you do the same. There are so many recipes available there that will have you thoroughly salivating. Always fun to learn new things, especially when it comes to my favorite medicine and a fun variety of forms in which to ingest it. Stay on the lookout for more amazing recipes and easy-to-follow instructions for tinctures here;
Now that you've properly read and absorbed a few solid recipes, get off your computer, get in the kitchen, and start whipping up some tasty treats that will reduce your friends to mumbling, stumbling zombies!
"When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional." - Hunter S. Thompson
About Joe Bryant
Joseph Bryant is a mysterious writer wrapped in an impenetrable cloak of mystery. His true intentions are never clear. He may or may not be lingering in dark areas near you, pursuing unfathomable objectives. Some say that Joseph Bryant can speak with the dead. He once fought a bear to the death, but does not like to brag about it. Having such pristine perception, he sees more in a day than many will in a lifetime. If a survival situation occurred in which there were a shortage of food, Joseph would eat you in order to survive. Being of keen intellect, he would then fashion useful tools from your bones and teeth. Such is his will to carry on and progress.