Anyone can make pot brownies. It really isn’t an exact science. You just buy the box of brownie mix and add the pot for pot sakes, I mean Pete. What they are doing at Denver restaurant is a bit different then the regular old pot brownies though. A new medical-marijuana shop called Ganja Gourmet serves cannabis-infused specialty foods such as pizza, hummus and lasagna.
Across the way from Ganja Gourmet, a Caribbean restaurant plans on offering classes that teach you how to make full multi-course meals with pot in every dish. And a little farther down the way, in Southern California, a low budget TV show called “Cannabis Planet” has won fans with a cooking segment showing viewers how to use weed in teriyaki chicken, shrimp capellini, and even steak sandwiches.
This evolution of cooking with weed was probably inevitable. With the explosion of medical marijuana around the country in recent years, baking with bud just makes sense. Many health-concious medical marijuana patients would rather eat the drug than smoke it. And they would prefer to eat something other than sugary treats that are the old school norm for cooking with pot.
So what do the menus look like?
Well, Ganja Gourmet’s menu includes Lasagna more lovingly called “LaGanja,” “Panama Red Pizza,” and an olive tapenade called “ganjanade.” Ganja Gourmet also offers cheesecake, muffins and brownies. Employees wear tie dye t-shirts of course and proclaim that “Our food is so great, you need a license to eat it!!” Which brings us to the next point. Any and all patrons of Ganja Gourmet have to show a medical marijuana card that proves they have a doctor’s permission to use pot for some kind of malady. The place opened about two weeks ago and so far 90 percent of its business has been take out.
Another side note. Ganja Gourmet’s food isn’t cheap. A pizza goes for a whopping 89$ and a dozen sweet treats called Almond Horns cost, oh, about 120 dollars. Which isn’t really that surprising I guess.
How do they make it?
Well, chefs can use marijuana in cooking because its key ingredient, THC, is fat-soluble. Which any pot head knows, it binds with oils or fats. Marijuana chefs put leaves or buds in a food processor and grind the marijuana into green flour. Then they add the flour to oil or butter and cook it slowly for up to a couple of days while the THC binds to the fat, then they strain out the green flakes.
The result is what is called “canna butter.” AKA “weed butter.” Chefs say that about 2 teaspoons of this butter will contain about the same amount of THC as an ounce of weed. WOWZA!
The pot infused oils and butters have a greenish tint and earthy taste, but chefs say the flavor can easily be masked with garlic, herbs or other spices.
Marijuana chefs say it takes 20 minutes to two hours for the pot-laced food to produce a high. The biggest problem, they say, is that users often eat too much, thinking the food isn’t working. While you can’t exactly overdose on marijuana food, people who eat too much may feel more sluggish or disoriented than they would like.
So at Ganja Gourmet, customers are allowed to eat only one menu item every 45 minutes.
(The drug takes so long to start working that there’s little chance of a customer developing a case of the munchies and getting hungrier the more he ate.)
Ganja Gourmet owner Scott Horowitz tried to get liability insurance of the sort bars take out to protect themselves against damage caused by intoxicated patrons. But he said he couldn’t find any insurers selling similar coverage for pot shops.