Elevate your “green” bean casserole or mac and cheese using cannabutter, THC extract or flower
Since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, edibles have become an increasingly popular choice for buyers. In fact, edibles — a category that includes infused gummies, chocolates, cookies, candies and even beverages — accounted for 13.9% of sales in Colorado between July 9 and Oct. 7 (the most of any state, according to analytics firm Headset).
But you’re not just limited to what’s sold at the store. As the variety of edibles has increased, so too have the ways consumers can make their own at home. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we tested three different infusion methods with popular holiday dishes — using cannabutter, marijuana concentrate and flower — so everyone can gather and giggle around the dinner table this year.
Before we dive in, let’s start with a few disclaimers: Cannabis use is a highly personal experience and the effects tend to hit differently when eating it versus smoking or vaping. The standard single serving size is 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound that produces a “high.”
If you’re new to edibles, start by eating a little rather than over-indulging. In classic Thanksgiving fashion, you can always go back for seconds.These recipes were inspired by those featured in cookbooks “The 420 Gourmet: The Elevated Art of Cannabis Cuisine” by Jeff The 420 Chef and “Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen” by Stephanie Hua and Coreen Carroll. Both are excellent resources to learn about the cannabis plant, its use as an ingredient and how to appropriately dose your dishes. For extra culinary inspiration, check out Vice’s “Bong Appétit.”
Whacky Mac & Cheese with cannabutter
About cannabutter: Butter is one of the most well-known ways to infuse a meal with marijuana. (Brownies, anyone?) You can make your own, or you can buy some pre-made Sweet Grass Cannabutter from Colorado edibles maker Infusiam, available at LivWell Enlightened Health and other dispensaries throughout the state. The latter is great because it’s already subdivided into 10 milligrams servings. A whole stick (100 milligrams) costs $20. To dilute the recipe dosage, cut the cannabutter with un-infused butter.
This recipe makes six servings, each with 5 milligrams of THC.
- 3 slices Sweet Grass Cannabutter or 1 tablespoon homemade cannabutter, equal to 30 milligrams of THC
- 1 pound pasta
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- 2 ounces goat cheese
- Salt, black pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste
- Sleeve of BBQ Pringles
Preheat the oven to 340 degrees. Boil a large pot of salted water and cook pasta according to box directions until al dente. (Keep in mind pasta will continue to cook when put in the oven.) In a measuring cup, combine milk and chicken stock.
In a medium saucepan, carefully melt butter so as not to burn it. Mix in the flour, a little bit at a time, while stirring constantly until you make a paste. Slowly add the milk and broth mixture and stir continuously until creamy.
Mix in cheese while continuing to stir to create a smooth blend as it melts. Add salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to taste. Stir well to combine.
Lower the heat and let sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, until it starts to bubble and look thick. Once thick, remove from heat.
Drain your pasta and return it to the pot. Mix three-quarters of the cheese sauce into the pasta and then transfer to a greased baking dish. Pour remaining cheese sauce over the top and bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cover the top with a layer of crushed BBQ Pringles (you don’t need to use the whole sleeve, but feel free). Return to the oven for 5 minutes, until the dish starts to bubble. Serve.
“Green” Bean Casserole with distillate
About marijuana distillate: Distillate is a form of cannabis concentrate. Be advised: This stuff is very potent, often reaching 90% THC. Concentrates company Spherex sells what it calls a dablicator ($30), a small syringe filled with THC extract that can be infused into numerous dishes. A little goes a long way here: One syringe of the Mango Kush distillate holds 765 milligrams of THC, so quite literally a drop will do.
We followed Alton Brown’s green bean casserole recipe, but you’re welcome to follow your longtime favorite. Keep in mind that cannabinoids including THC bind to fat, so as a rule of thumb, add the distillate when you incorporate the creamy component.
This recipe makes six servings, each with about 6 milligrams of THC.
- 1 drop of Spherex marijuana distillate
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- French’s Crispy Fried Onions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for about 5 minutes. Drain and immediately plunge beans into an ice bath to stop cooking, then set aside.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms give up their liquid and turn tan or brown. Add garlic and nutmeg, and cook another minute or two until aromatic. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and simmer for 1 minute. Decrease heat to medium-low and add the half-and-half.
Heat up a cup of water and submerge the closed distillate applicator in it for one minute. This will warm the extract and make it easier to accurately dose your dish. Once warm, carefully squeeze 1 drop of the marijuana distillate onto the end of a butter knife and stir into the mixture. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
Once thick, remove the pan from heat and transfer mixture into a baking dish. Cover with crispy fried onions and bake for about 15 minutes, until the dish is bubbling.
Whipped Cream of Weed with cannabis flower
About the flower: Cannabis flower or bud is the raw plant material that’s harvested and sold as a smokeable product. It’s important to note that you cannot simply put flower in a dish and expect an infusion. The buds need to be heated to activate the THC, a process known as decarboxylation, or “decarbing,” for short. In the following recipe, the cannabis is decarbed in the steeping process, so there’s no extra work you need to do prior to combining the ingredients.
This recipe makes 16 ounces of whipped cream with an estimated total of 25 milligrams of THC.
- 0.5 gram marijuana flower
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Extra cream to top off
Add cream to a small pot. Break marijuana into small pieces (do not grind) and add to cream.
Slowly heat the mixture, stirring occasionally.
Once the mixture starts to boil, turn heat to low and cover partially. Continue to steep the marijuana for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Take pot off heat and strain cream into a heat-safe container. Let cool.
Add more cream to the infused cream to make a full cup, replacing what evaporated.
Pour into a mixer and whip the mixture until it reaches desired, fluffy consistency.