Story and Photos By Sharon Letts
Additional Comments By Humboldt Chef Lauren Sarabia
What’s the difference between a traditional cookbook and a Cannabis cookbook? Dosage and a “Legal Heads Up” are two obvious distinctions.
In fact, dosages in Cannabis as medicine is a deal-breaker for many divided on the topic of good medicine vs. plants for pleasure, and why big Pharma is chomping at the bit to get a piece of the pie â€“ with good reason – the stuff works.
Chef and author Cheri Sicard penned “The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook” after discovering Cannabis at the never-to-late-to-medicate age of 40. She went from a closet smoker to an all-out activist within six months of discovering its benefits, which is a common tale in the Canna world.
â€œThere is no such thing as a â€œtypical Marijuana user,â€ Sicard said, repeating an old mantra. â€œWe are everyone â€“ all ages, races, and all political persuasions.â€
Sicard suffered a good portion of her life from a medical condition of chronic nausea with digestive issues. Already a professional recipe developer and cookbook author, Sicard easily fell into the role of Ganja Chef with her first effort, and is already working on the second edition.
With edibles barely covered by city, county or state ordinances, the cookbook goes out on a limb as a proponent of concentrates – ground Hash in particular â€“ a misunderstood ingredient often frowned on by authorities as a â€œmanufactured substance.â€ It works well in many foods, without the strong Canna flavor found in oil-based concentrates such as butters or oils.
Research indicates there is more medicine in ingesting than smoking, and patients are hungry for education on how to do it, but flavor has always been a downfall of Cannabis and the sensitive palate.
Sicard took on the task head-on, creating tasty dishes such as â€œApple and Cornbread-Stuffed Pork Chops,â€ â€œAsian Shrimp Salad Rolls,â€ and â€œChocolate Peanut Butter Tarts,â€ with the flavor of the food, not the medicine, shining through.
Humboldt County Chef Lauren Sarabia, owner of Comfort of Home Catering, is a Locavore and co-Author of â€œLocally Delicious: Recipes and Resources for Eating on the North Coast.â€ Sarabia, who already markets her own line of Cannabis salves, was more than happy to test a few recipes from the cookbook in her beautiful home in the woods. Using all local and organic ingredients, she prepared â€œCornish Game Hens with Peach, Sausage, and Rice Stuffing,â€ with a side dish of â€œOver-Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes.â€
Both dishes called for ground Hash and itâ€™s important to note that Hash is not measured by the teaspoon-full, but by weight, so a handy gram scale would be advised for proper dosage.
Aside from insisting on local and fresh ingredients, Chef Sarabia observed that Sicardâ€™s recipes were easy to prepare, and includes recipes for making butter and oil.
â€œAll the ingredients were easy to obtain,â€ Sarabia shared. â€œIn Humboldt County we grow a lot of our own food and I can for winter. We had peaches left over from our summer harvest and homemade peach preserves to use in the stuffing â€“ and, of course, we used local Humboldt derived Cannabis concentrates â€“ the best in the world!â€
Sarabia said she Loved the use of orange juice in the rice, and was able to use Cara Cara oranges â€“ a winter ripening citrus with a red center and wonderful flavor.
â€œCitrus in the rice is inspiring, and I was thinking that rose water might be a nice addition, as well,â€ she added.
â€œThis cookbook gives easy ways to ingest cannabis,â€ Sarabia surmised. â€œThe flavors of the other ingredients totally hid the flavor of the Cannabis, and that night sleep came easily.â€
For desert this author prepared the â€œMini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes,â€ but in a cake pan rather than individual custard cups. The cake was so moist it was like pudding, and while you could taste the Cannabis in the butter, it wasnâ€™t the typical, overwhelming green found in most Canna baked goods.
This recipe called for butter and I made a batch to Sicardâ€™s specifications in a crock-pot, using water to absorb the color of the Cannabis â€“ giving a cleaner, lighter color and flavor.
Sicardâ€™s past effort, â€œThe Complete Idiotâ€™s Guide to Easy Freezer Meals,â€ came in handy for her gourmet Cannabis cookbook, as freezing and storing medicated foods is imperative. I mean, I could have eaten that entire cake it was so good, but it is medicine, after all, and saving portions for later is much needed.
That kind of control is what Sicard said preparing your own medicine is all about.
â€œWhen you make it yourself you control the amount of medication as well as the type, so you can really customize the edibles for your specific needs and conditions,â€ Sicard explained. â€œYou also have control of the rest of the recipe, meaning it can be customized for your needs and tastes. Whether you have Diabetes, are a Vegan, or need gluten free, itâ€™s no problem.â€
For those who have lost the fine art of cooking at home, making medicine just might be the way back into the kitchen. Chef Sarabia agrees, â€œI enjoyed looking over the recipes in the book and I would definitely make most of them with or without the cannabis.â€
â€œThe Cannabis Gourmet Cookbookâ€ is self-published by Z-Dog Media, LLC, and can be purchased online via its Web site, www.cannabischeri.com for $24.95.