“I am a master chef,” says New World Home Cooking chef and owner, Ric Orlando.
“I am not an edibles chef.”
Orlando is a known and respected culinarian and locavore. Besides the legendary Woodstock restaurant, he also owns New World Bistro Bar in Albany, has competed on Food Network’s Chopped and even defeated celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Despite his not identifying as an “edibles chef,” Orlando knows how to bring together the two worlds of cannabis and fine foods, and offers a few out-frikkin-rageous recipes for our 420 Edition.
The term “edibles” encompasses far far more than Alice B. Toklas’ famous hash brownies. These days, weed can be made into any number of candies, cakes, cookies, breads, drinks, dishes — the only limit is imagination and skill.
Although the effect varies from person to person, edibles tend to result in a much more intense and longer-lasting high than smoking. After consuming an edible, it generally takes 45-60 minutes (sometimes longer, again, it depends upon the individual) for one to start feeling the effects. It’s worth noting that while one can stop toking when one feels stoned enough, once you swallow the last bite of whatever edible you’re eating, you’re on a ride you can’t get off until it gets out of your system.
For most recipes, the foundation for baking with marijuana to create edibles starts by adding marijuana to a soluble fat, such as butter, or coconut oil — key to getting the desired effect. A simple Google search yields endless recipes to make “pot butter”; Orlando says his recipe for simple butter is a bit old school as in lower-dose, compared to the marijuana-intense recipes circulating as the norm for these days. He is a fan of clarifying butter (“concentrated” butter, called ghee by the Indians, made by simmering and then straining off the dairy proteins) in the crockpot for a few hours, and then adding finely ground marijuana to cook for several more hours. The clarified butter means that all the compounds are readily ingested into the system, and longer lasting. His ratio of weed to butter is a half-ounce of pot to four pounds (64 ounces) of butter. Orlando is the first to admit this is lightweight, but insists the buzz is perfectly notable, and there is no need for more.
Once created, Orlando says the weed butter can be used in a myriad of fun ways, just as you would use it in any recipe. Orlando has fun cooking with it for dinner parties, using it in a finishing sauce on a dish. “I like to whisk it with chicken broth, white wine and some herbs, and you don’t really taste it because it’s so savory,” said Orlando.
This begged the question — how does one mitigate the “weediness” oft broadcast in that familiar, burned rope, skunky tattle-tale scent? “I have had cookies that taste like they came off the barn floor,” said Orlando. “Citrus is the answer.”
Orlando explained that citrus works well, especially when incorporating chocolate with pot butter, as the marijuana can otherwise poorly influence its flavor. Orlando said using bitter chocolates would bring out some interesting notes. “Herbs on herbs, using herbs in baking, like basil with strawberries, the basil blends with the flavor of the weed.”
Orlando was enthused about using the marijuana ghee as a base in Indian dished like vindaloo and curries. “Good, dry complex spices are so good in that … It’s like someone lifted you up and you’re levitating,” said Orlando. “You are levitating, my friend.”
Do various strains contain different flavor profiles worth orchestrating into recipes? Orlando said he does not get caught up in that nuance, and actually enjoys the randomness of each batch of weed product. Orlando described himself as very straightforward in his approach when incorporating marijuana, and stressed that building a “mixology arsenal” is very important.
Ride the dragon
Orlando’s preferred delivery method is by a tincture known as “Green Dragon.” Infuse one ounce of moist buds into a bottle of grain alcohol for 90 days. It can then be transferred into small tincture bottles, diluted and dispensed with an eyedropper. Orlando likes the Green Dragon for cocktails, food infusion or even sublingual drops. (For a more detailed set of instructions, check out the recipes section.)
From Jack Margolis’ 1970 pro-marijuana counterculture book, Child’s Garden of Grass, Orlando cited a “honey slide,” which is made by dry-toasting leaves or trimmings in a pan, and then sprinkle it on a spoonful of honey to enjoy. “The sugar of the honey will deliver it straight into your bloodstream,” said Orlando. “You feel it right away.”
Paul Maloney of Stockade Tavern has a recipe that could warm the hearts of even the coldest marijuana opponents. “I don’t recommend alcohol with this drink,” said Maloney. “A friend ruined a few parties with people drinking alcohol and this. Needless to say people were dropping like flies.”
- Bring to a boil 1 quart of milk or soy milk
- Stir in 2-4 tsp. of dried ground trimmings, or just some nice ground bud
- Turn down heat to a simmer for 30 min,
- Add 8 tbsp. of unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder
- Sweeten to taste, pinch of salt.
- Makes 2-4 servings
“If you need to add alcohol 2 ounces of Green Chartreuse would be lovely,” Maloney said. “Sweet dreams.”
Ric Orlando’s green butter pancakes
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1/3 cup chopped tree nuts (pecans or walnuts, optional)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup “green” butter
- 1 egg
Combine flour, sugar, nuts if using, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs and buttermilk.
Cook the green butter slowly in a small saucepan until it turns an amber brown color, adjusting the heat to keep it from burning.
Remove from heat and add to the buttermilk mixture. Add the flour mixture and whisk until combined.
Heat cast iron fry pan to medium.
Spray with nonstick cooking spray or add a knob of fresh butter and swirl to coat the pan.
Cook batter until you see bubbles on the surface of the pancake, then flip over and continue to cook for one more minute.
Repeat with the rest of the batter. Makes about six nice pancakes.
If you don’t have buttermilk, whisk a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt into regular milk.
Ric Orlando’s green BBQ shrimp
“This recipe is so quick and simple and yet so perfect, you’re going it make it regularly, says Orlando. “The shrimp shell’s flavor works with the cannabis essence to create a super nutty experience.
- 3 Plus 2 tbls. green butter
- 12-16 medium large wild gulf shrimp, or Alaskan spot prawns, shell on. (“Don’t let me catch you buying cheap farmed tiger shrimp!” says Orlando.)
- Kosher salt
- 2 tbls. coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
- Pinch cayenne to your liking
- ¼ cup of chopped scallions, about 4
- 1/8 cup chopped parsley
- Juice of two lemons
- ¼ cup white wine
- 3 oz. bottled clam juice or chicken broth
- Splash of hot sauce
- Plenty of baguette or cooked white rice to soak up the sauce
It is crucial to cook these shrimp with the shells on. If you are squeamish, you can de-vein the shrimp while leaving the shells on by cutting up the back of each shrimp with a scissors and carefully removing the poop vein.
Use a heavy skillet large enough to hold all the shrimp in one layer.
Melt the first three tablespoons of butter in the pan. Turn the heat to high.
Add the shrimp and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow the shrimp to cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds and then turn them over. Add a pinch more salt and cook for 30 more seconds. They should be pink but a bit raw inside.
Remove the shrimp t a plate to rest. They’ll be finished in the sauce.
Add the garlic, pepper, rosemary and cayenne to the pan and get that garlic golden.
Now add the lemon juice, wine and broth. Stir in the garlic and let it come to a boil.
Swirl the pan and add the shrimp back to the pan with scallions, parsley and remaining two tablespoons of green butter. Swirl the pan until the butter is melted.
Serve in bowls with plenty of napkins; serves two for dinner.
The green dragon
“The green dragon is a simple cannabis tincture,” says Ric Orlando. “It is the easier and best way to get a long, happy buzz on without the hassle of mixing, baking and stewing. It’s low calorie, easy on the lungs and packs a wallop and best of all, it doesn’t require using up your finest fuzzy premium bud. So why not try?”
Makes 12 oz. Takes a month to make.
½ cup of bud trimmings, twigs, leaves, stems and shake, broken up in a grinder or blender
12 oz. good quality vodka or 8 oz. Everclear
Put the weed and the alcohol in a mason jar. Seal the lid tight.
Shake it real good.
Store in a cool dark place that is not hard to access.
Every morning, give it a shake.
You will begin to notice that the weed is losing its color and the alcohol is taking on color, greenish, or browning or even purplish depending upon the strain you are using.
Keep doing your daily shake for about four weeks, or until the weed has lost most of its color.
Then train it out through a cheese cloth or coffee filter. You can store in a tincture bottle with an eyedropper, or any other glass or plastic bottle. If you used Everclear you can add three ounces of water now to extend it.
“Start out by doing three drops under your tongue,” says Orlando. “I said drops. Test its potency that way. This shit is powerful.”
“This is fun and easy and works wonders when the world is just a little too much,” says Orlando
- 2 oz. Good quality Vodka
- 3 drops green dragon
- ½ oz. green chartreuse, or ½ oz. sweetened green tea
Shake well on ice, strain into martini glass.
“Garnish with whatever edible green herb suits your fancy,” says Orlando. “I like purslane, when its available.”