One of the greatest things about writing The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook is that I now know 12 of the most creative cannabis chefs who can help me with recipe ideas for every occasion. This year, I need to take a dish to a Colorado-style Halloween party, and I knew exactly who to turn to. Denver-based chef, caterer and artist Catjia Redfern got her creative juices flowing and came up with these decidedly adult versions of cannabis-infused Halloween classics that are just as delicious and even better for you than the originals.
Catjia put a healthy spin on the adult Halloween challenge and also collaborated with mixologist John Bowsher to whip up a creepy cannabis cocktail. The following recipes are all easy to pull off but require some pre-planning because of their cannabis-infused ingredients—coconut oil or butter, cream and gin—which can take 24 hours or more to prepare. Please read through the recipes and plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than promising to bring a “special” treat and then not delivering.
Also, be sure to label your treats very clearly—even if you’re certain that everyone at the party understands they’re infused. You don’t want to be responsible for anyone being stuck on the sofa for the freakiest night of the year. When serving or enjoying these treats, as we say in Colorado, start low and go slow. You have a long, spooky night ahead.
Recipe by Catjia Redfern
Yields 8 - 16 servings
Pumpkins are a superfood! Low in saturated fat and a great source of vitamins and minerals, pumpkins are also one of the richest sources of plant-based anti-inflammatory nutrients such as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and beta-carotene—which is important for building a strong immune system. For this hearty seasonal soup, Catjia Redfern pairs small pie pumpkins (don’t use jack-o-lantern pumpkins because the flesh is too coarse) with cannabis, which is also an anti-inflammatory. You can use cannabis-infused coconut oil [RECIPE BELOW] to increase the soup’s potency or leave it out for milder fare. The kick in this bisque comes from cannabis-infused cream [RECIPE BELOW], which must be made 24 hours ahead of time. It serves 6 to 12 people, depending on tolerance and hunger levels. Catjia suggests starting with a small ladle full. You can always have a second cup later. You can also up the dosage by garnishing with cannabis-infused Seeds, No Stems pumpkin seeds (RECIPE BELOW) for very experienced imbibers.
1 poblano, roasted
2 jalapenos, roasted
2 small pie pumpkins
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons cannabis-infused coconut oil (or non-infused)
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups vegetable stock
2 cups Cannabis Cream (recipe follows)
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons Ceylon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 lemons, juiced
Roasted pumpkin seeds or chopped cilantro to garnish
Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.
Remove seeds and pulp from pumpkins. Chop into several pieces. Place with skin side down on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven for 30 to 45 minutes until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside and let cool.
Place peppers over an open flame on a gas oven or over the grill or roast in oven for about 20 minutes. When skin is charred, remove from heat and place in paper bag to cool.
Melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Scrape out pumpkin flesh, discard skin.
Peel peppers, remove seeds and chop.
Place vegetable stock, pumpkin, peppers, onion and garlic in a soup pot and heat gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Add cannabis cream and all the rest of the ingredients except for the lemon juice and stir over medium heat for 10 minutes.
Transfer soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
Return soup to pot. Stir in lemon juice and adjust seasonings to taste.
Garnish with pumpkin seeds or chopped fresh cilantro to serve.
Recipe by Rowan Lehrman/The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook
Makes about 2 cups
Rowan Lehrman has never infused cream any other way because she’s always had success with this secret family recipe (from relatives in Alaska, where cannabis is now legal so the recipe doesn’t have to be secret anymore). Rowan simmers an eighth of an ounce of finely ground cannabis flowers and a pint of heavy cream in a double boiler with a slightly cracked lid for about two hours and lets it sit overnight in the refrigerator before straining for a potent, consistent cannabis cream she can rely on when she cooks. Rowan uses only heavy cream because its high fat content makes it more stable and less likely to curdle as it simmers than milk or light cream. (Heavy cream will curdle if you let it boil, so watch your pot closely.) The fat also sucks up fat-soluble THC from the cannabis, which is good to remember if you’re stirring this cream into coffee or substituting it for non-infused cream in recipes.
1/8 ounce cured, well-trimmed cannabis flowers or trim
1 pint (2 cups) cream
fine mesh strainer
airtight glass container
Using a wooden spoon, combine cannabis and cream in a double boiler.
Bring to a simmer, watching carefully so the cream doesn’t boil.
When it has just about reached boiling, reduce heat.
Cover with lid, leaving a slight crack, and simmer on low for about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Label pan and place, covered, in refrigerator overnight.
The next day, place cheesecloth inside a strainer and pour cream through strainer into a bowl. Squeeze cheesecloth and compost cannabis.
Store cream in a labeled airtight container in the refrigerator until the cream’s expiration date.
Cannabis-Infused Coconut or Olive Oil
Recipe by Andie Leon/The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook
Yields about 5 cups
Andie Leon enjoys the simple physical effort of using a potato masher to press sugar leaves into water and oil for this low-tech, low-stress method of infusing oil. “When you put your energy into that mashing, you enhance the oil with your energy,” she says. Andie’s method of simmering the cannabis in water softens the plant material, making it easier to strain later, and pulls out chlorophyll and terpenes that can mess with the oil’s flavor and color. Andie uses cannabis flowers for stronger oil and sugar leaves for milder fare. She always infuses with her favorite cultivars, Sour Diesel and Kryptonite, when she can find them grown organically, but it’s more important to her that the cannabis be organic. Just as she chooses only the freshest, healthiest foods for her restaurant, Andie uses only the best organic cannabis when she cooks for herself, friends, and catering clients. Make no mistake; this oil is potent. A little goes a long way.
1. cup spring water
8–10 ounces organic cannabis trim, finely ground
5 cups organic coconut, grapeseed, or extra-virgin olive oil
fine mesh strainer
airtight glass jar
In a large pot, combine cannabis and water.
Over very low heat, press down on cannabis with a potato masher to extract a dark brown liquid. Simmer until water evaporates, about 5 minutes maximum.
Add oil and simmer at very low temperature for 4–5 hours.
Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl, wide-mouth jar, or measuring cup. Twist cannabis with cheesecloth, squeezing out every last drop of oil. Compost cannabis solids.
Transfer oil to a clean clear or dark bottle or jar with a lid or cork. Label with the type of oil and date. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
Seeds, No Stems
Recipe by Catjia Redfern
Yields about 1-2 cups
Pumpkin seeds are an addictive snack—and that’s all good. Rich in fiber and essential nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and zinc (an immune system boost that helps prevent respiratory infections), pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein. As a general rule, one 10-14 pound pumpkin yields about 1 cup of pumpkin seeds. For this recipe, Catjia Redfern boils and dries the seeds before tossing them with cannabis-infused butter or coconut oil and seasonings. (Try infusing with Voodoo, an uplifting sativa that will give a nutty bite and a Halloween twist.) Catjia seasons her seeds with Old Bay seasoning, but you can use whatever combination of herbs and spices you like (cumin, coriander, thyme and cardamom are all good). Pumpkin seeds are great on their own and can also be ground up and sprinkled on soup or salad. If you’re nibbling, start out with just a few seeds to see how hard they hit you.
2 medium pie pumpkins
2 tablespoons cannabis-infused coconut oil [RECIPE ABOVE]
2 tablespoons gluten-free Tamari sauce
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Use a large spoon to scrape pulp and seeds out of pumpkin and into a bowl. Clean flesh off seeds but leave a little (the stringy attachments add flavor).
Rinse seeds in a colander under cold water.
Bring a medium-size pot of water to boiling. Add seeds, lower heat and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a towel or paper-lined tray. Pat dry.
If coconut oil is solid, warm up to bring to liquid form.
Transfer seeds to a bowl and toss with coconut oil, Tamari and seasonings.
Spread seeds in single layer on baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Roasting time will vary based on size of seeds.
Transfer seeds to flat surface to cool. Store in airtight, clearly labeled container.
Devil-Infused Caramel Apples
Recipe by Catjia Redfern
October 31 is National Caramel/Candy Apple Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate than with Catjia Redfern’s not-too-sinful (meaning not too sugary) cannabis-infused version of the classic. Use Fuji or Granny Smith apples on the smaller side if you can find them; they provide a nice tart contrast to the sweet caramel and hold up better under heat. Catjia uses organic black Jonathans from Colorado’s Western Slope. Apples are rich in flavonoids, beta-carotene, vitamins B and C, and minerals. Try infusing the cream for these with Devil, a surprisingly upbeat and potent indica with red buds and leaves that smells like an apple orchard, for otherworldly Halloween treats. Catjia says that Island Skunk also works well because of its soft floral note. Because the honey is heavy, it will eventually cause the caramel to sink and begin to pool, so serve these right away. You may want to remove the sticks and cut the apples into slices; a full apple’s worth of cannabis caramel could be too much.
Yields 12 servings
12 chilled apples
1 quart heavy whipping cream
2 cups raw honey
1 ounce cured cannabis flowers or leaves, coarsely ground
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
parchment paper or muffin liners
12 short bamboo skewers
Cheesecloth or hemp cloth
Stick skewers into the tops of the washed apples. Chill apples for 2 hours so the caramel will stick better.
Heat cream in heavy saucepan over medium heat until bubbles just start to form on the edge of the pan. Add cannabis. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool till it’s cool enough to handle. Strain mixture through the cheesecloth, squeezing out all the liquid from the solids, Compost the solids.
Put cream back into the saucepan and bring it back up to boil. Add honey and salt. Stir to dissolve.
Bring to a boil, stirring continuously, and let boil for about another 20-30 minutes. Mixture will thicken and start to look like caramel. Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Remove from heat.
Place pan in a large bowl of ice water to stop caramel from cooking. Let sit for about 10-15 seconds to thicken slightly. Dip and twirl apples in the caramel, coating them as quickly as possible. If caramel thickens, put back onto burner for 10-15 seconds.
Place caramel apples on parchment or muffin liner and let set. Serve immediately.
Recipe by John Bowsher
Mixologist John Bowsher’s Halloween cocktail gets its blood-red color from freshly juiced beets and its festive foaminess from egg whites. (John uses an egg from one of the ducks he keeps in his back yard. Regular eggs work just fine if you’re not keeping ducks right now.) John vigorously shakes the egg white in an airtight stainless steel shaker for a full minute to create a nice foam, then hard shakes the foam with cannabis-infused Death’s Door gin, Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, cannabis-infused honey syrup, lemon juice and Peychaud’s bitters (made from a secret family recipe brought from Haiti to New Orleans in the 1830s). You can make the cannabis simple syrup well ahead of time using equal parts Cannabis Honey and water and store in a cool, dark place for up to a month. With both infused gin and infused honey syrup, this is a potent cocktail. You can temper it by infusing only the gin or only the honey syrup. Gin and honey tinctures require 24 hours to make, so plan ahead for that. And have fun with garnishes. Catjia Redfern adds squid for just the right creepy crawly touch.
1 1/2 oz. cannabis-infused Death's Door gin (RECIPE BELOW)
1/2 ounce Cannabis Honey (RECIPE BELOW)
½ ounce water
1 organic egg white
1 ounce Opal Basil-Beet Juice (RECIPE BELOW)
1/4 ounce Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur
1/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
3 solid shakes Peychaud's bitters
cannabis fan leaf for garnish
To make simple syrup, combine equal parts water and cannabis honey in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Cover pot and boil gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until cannabis honey is completely dissolved into the water. Let simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring once a minute. Remove from heat and let cool.
To make cocktail, extract egg white from egg into shaker. Dry shake (shake without ice) for 1 minute or more, until extremely frothy.
Add gin, 1 ounce honey simple syrup, basil-beet juice, Barrow's Intense Ginger Liqueur, bitters and lemon juice to shaker.
Add 2 to 3 medium-size square ice cubes to shaker. Shake vigorously.
Fill Collins glass with medium-size square ice cubes. Pour cocktail through strainer into Collins glass.
Garnish with cannabis leaf.
Cannabis Gin Tincture
Recipe by Rabib Rafiq/The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook
Yields about 1 liter
Amherst, Massachusetts-based mixologist Rabib Rafiq says that getting the tincture right might be the most important part of making extraordinary cannabis cocktails. His simple technique calls for combining about ten grams of finely ground cannabis with a liter of fine-quality gin, letting it sit in a cool, dark place for twenty-four hours, and straining out the cannabis. Heating the cannabis in a low oven to convert THC-A into THC, a process known as decarboxylation, maximizes the tincture’s strength. Rabib enjoys working with gin because it provides a versatile base for a range of flavors. Liquor stores are stocking more quality artisanal gins with diverse flavors and botanical combinations, often made locally, so you can experiment until you find one that works well with your favorite cannabis cultivar. Cultivars with pine and eucalyptus flavor profiles such as Headband and Hawaiian Kush are excellent with gin. Rabib uses small amounts of this heady tincture when he mixes drinks, and he warns to be very careful if you choose to drink it straight. Start with no more than one milliliter or about twenty drops.
10 grams (about 1/2. cup) cured cannabis
1 liter fine-quality gin
2 dark glass airtight bottles or jars
mortar and pestle or coffee grinder
fine mesh strainer
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Place cannabis in single layer on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
Using a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder, grind cannabis to a powder.
Combine gin and cannabis in glass bottle or jar with tightly fitting lid.
Let sit in a cool, dark place for 24 hours.
Line a strainer with cheesecloth to catch solids and pour liquid into bottle or jar with a tightly fitting lid.
Label jar and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.
Recipe by Lucienne Bercow Lazarus/The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook
Yields 80 ounces (about 80 1-ounce servings)
Infusing raw honey is Boulder-based cannabis chef Lucie Lazarus’s favorite way of cooking with cannabis because she enjoys the health benefits and the effects. Raw honey delivers antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects and is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat imbalances in the body. Lucie uses cannabis honey in cooking and cocktails, and she enjoys the elixir’s reputed ability to help her body metabolize alcohol, mitigating its intoxicating effects. Legend has it that beekeepers in the Middle East put their hives near cannabis plants for honey from THC-infused pollen, but Lucie does a simple heat extraction—much like steeping tea—to make hers. She simply combines an ounce of cured, finely ground cannabis flowers or trim with 80 ounces of locally sourced, raw honey in a crockpot and cooks it on low for five hours, stirring occasionally. If you don’t have a crockpot, you can put the cannabis and honey in a Dutch oven and warm it in a 180-degree oven instead. You can keep this infusion in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Store honey at room temperature rather than the refrigerator so it doesn’t crystallize.
1 ounce cured cannabis flowers or trim
80 ounces local raw honey
Crockpot or Dutch oven
Airtight glass jar or bottle
Preheat Dutch oven to 180 degrees F or crockpot on low setting.
Bundle cannabis and wrap with string. Place bundle in Dutch oven or crockpot.
Pour honey to cover.
Cook on low for 5 hours, stirring with a wooden spoon a few times per hour.
After 5 hours turn off crockpot or remove from oven and let cool for up to 24 hours.
Remove cannabis bundle and squeeze out as much honey as possible. Compost cannabis solids.
Ladle into labeled jars. Store in cool dark place for up to 30 days.
Black Opal Basil-Beet Juice
6 organic red beets
1 ounce black opal basil
blender or juicer
Trim off roots and leaf stalks from beets and wash under cool running water. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Place over burner on high heat until water begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium and keep water at a simmer.
Cook 45 minutes or more until done. (This could take anywhere from 45 minutes for fresh beets to a couple of hours for older ones.) The beets should be easily pierced with a fork.
Use a spoon, peeler or damp towel to remove skin from beets. Dice beets into small pieces. Set aside.
Wash and finely chop black opal basil.
Place beets and basil in blender or juicer.
Blend as finely as possible.
Place cheesecloth tightly around a glass bowl or a jar. Strain juice from blended mixture to last drop. Compost solids.
Place lid on container and use immediately or store in a labeled container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.