The cool months are looming, friends. With peak-summer now well behind us, it’s about that time to cash in on one last celebration of the warm nights, seasonal food, and the fact that, for the most part, people still feel like partying. If you want to give summer a proper send-off, host an elevated dinner party that your friends will remember.
Never cooked with cannabis before? No problem. We asked private Chef Phillip Walters his pointers for hosting an elevated dinner party, and a 3-course menu that sets the bar high for a homemade cannabis-infused meal.
ON COOKING WITH CANNABIS – FOR BEGINNERS
First of all, don’t make your very first attempt a dinner party. Instead, leave the alchemy to the pros. Without laboratory conditions, you’re inevitably going to have incredible variations in how much you actually dose your guests, which could get dicey.
“There’s more involved with adding your cannabis to your fat and using heat to convert the THCA to THC than just extracting it,” Phillip says. “You’ve got to understand how it all breaks down… if you’re taking, let’s say, the equivalent of 2000 mg of THC, which would be, you know, 2 grams of pure THC, and infusing it into a cup of oil, you could technically make a cup of oil that has 2000 mg of THC, which is a shit load. If you make a salad dressing with that one cup, and serve it to people, they’re all going to be consuming way too much THC, and they’re going to be sleeping before the main course.”
You want to host a dinner party, not a slumber party. So get yourself some pre-made doses, and just worry about cooking good food. There’s no shame in not doing it all from scratch. Phillip says, “the one starting point I would tell people is to buy dosages over the counter from one of the manufacturers and add the dosage in post-cooking. That way you can more accurately gauge how much THC you’re taking in.”
ON ELEVATING THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE
To treat your friends to a memorable night, think beyond just infusing food with pot. Get creative with how you present and gather around it.
“In my head it’s not (just) about cooking a meal. For example, if I’m going to showcase 3 strains of pot – I’m going to grind them up on a tray, include the paraphernalia, pass them around the dinner table and let guests consume it in smokeable form. Things like that, they allow for more freedom in decreasing edible dosages,” says Phillip.
It also offers a way for your guests to interact with each other. For most of us, getting stoned makes us more introverted, but the ritual of passing a joint and smoking together brings in a component of interaction and opportunity to meet in the middle.
“If you’re passing around a joint, you know what you’re all there for, you can actually connect (with people) in a much different way than you would if you were just eating (cannabis-infused) food,” Phillip points out. “That’s that magical line between the communal table and how to overcome the social anxiety of sitting with your weird idiosyncrasies at a dinner table with strangers, and, getting so stoned so that we couldn’t even connect if we wanted to. Let’s not make it too much about the food / getting stoned – let’s make it about the nature of why we come together.”
A THC-LACED SUMMER DINNER MENU FOR 4
Made with fresh, quality ingredients – and THC-infused olive oil and butter, this app, main, and dessert showcase the complex flavour of cannabis alongside other herbs and seasonal produce. Your guests (even the non-cannabis-using ones) will be as satisfied as they are buzzed.
APPETIZER: BURRATA WITH TOMATO, ROASTED GRAPE SALAD, SHERRY VINAIGRETTE & GRILLED BREAD
2 balls of Buratta cheese, halved
6 heirloom tomatoes of all sizes and colours
2 C grapes, halved
3 T olive oil (infused with 60 mg THC, suggested strain: Lemon Kush)
5 T sherry vinegar
2 T chopped parsley
2 T minced shallots
2 T sliced chives
Pinch of salt
4 C loosely packed Mizuna
Garlic clove, halved
Fresh cracked pepper
1. For the vinaigrette, combine olive oil, sherry vinegar, parsley, chives, and shallots in a bowl and whisk ingredients. Finish with a pinch of salt.
2. For the grilled bread, rub sliced garlic clove across the sliced focaccia, and lightly brush with olive oil. On a hot grill, mark the bread and ensure it warms through.
3. In a hot pan, add light coating of olive oil and add grapes, and lightly sautee until caramelized, about 3 minutes.
4. Slice tomatoes and divide evenly among the plates, being careful to mix the sizes and colours to create a mosaic.
5. To build the plates, scatter grapes evenly around the tomatoes and top each salad with a half ball of burrata. Dress the burrata with the vinaigrette, allowing it to flow around the plate.
Finish with a pinch of Maldon salt and cracked pepper. Garnish with the Mizuna Leaves and serve with grilled bread.
MAIN: GRASS-FED STRIPLOIN, ALIGOT POTATOES, BRAISED CARROTS & PARSLEY SALAD
Two 12 oz. NY Striploins
12 thyme sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes
*1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
*100 mg infusion with Romulan (suggested strain)
200 ml heavy cream
400 g grated Gruyère cheese
275 g fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
Freshly ground white pepper
Heirloom carrots, scrubbed
250 g butter
2 C reduced veal stock
100 ml red wine
1 bunch parsley, picked
1. For the potatoes, peel the potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Starting in cool water bring the pot to the boil and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and cool for about 5 minutes. Use a food mill, or pulse (but not process) the potatoes into a fine purée in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment.
Return the puréed potatoes to the pot. Return the pot to medium heat. Add the butter and cream and stir until melted. Add the Gruyère and mozzarella and beat into the potatoes with a wooden spoon, until the cheese and potatoes come together and have a stringy, elastic texture.
2. For the carrots, place butter in a sautee pan over medium heat. Once the butter starts foaming, add the carrots and add 1 sprig of thyme and one clove of garlic. Cook gently, ensuring that the butter remains foamy, rolling regularly until carrots are cooked through, roughly 30 minutes. Pour contents of the pan onto a drip tray lined with paper towel and remove herbs and garlic from the carrots.
3. For the striploin, bring a cast iron pan to the smoke point. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil. Season steaks heavily with salt and pepper and gently add to the pan. Sear on high heat, and flip to continue cooking. Once the desired cooking temperature is achieved, remove steaks and allow to rest. Return the steaks to the same pan, add herbs, garlic and butter and baste steaks generously. Remove steaks from the pan and slice.
4. For the Pan sauce, retrieve cast iron pan, with all of its contents. Pour out excess butter and place on a high flame. Once hot, deglaze pan with red wine. Once fully reduced add reduced veal stock, and the remaining thyme and bay leaf. Quickly reduce by half and mount in 2 tablespoons of butter.
5. To plate, place a nice quenelle of aligot potatoes off center and mirror with the sliced striploin. Naturally place carrots around the dish and garnish each plate with your pan sauce and garnish with some parsley, dressed with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil.
DESSERT: LEMON CUSTARD WITH BURNT MERINGUE & CRUMBLED TART
¾ C lemon juice
Zest of two lemons
¾ C sugar
4 eggs yolks
110 g butter, cubed
1 sheet gelatin, soaked
175 g all purpose flour
60 g sugar
125 g butter, chilled and diced
Pinch of salt
4 egg whites
1 C sugar
10 mint leaves (chiffonade)
1 lemon kush cannabis leaf (chiffonade)
1. For the curd, in a bain-marie, add all contents, reserving the butter. Slowly heat, with a constant stir, until contents reach 72 degrees Celsius. Pass the base through a chinois to remove the zest, and place contents in a blender. On medium speed slowly add the diced butter. The curd will thicken. Place in a container and allow cooling in the fridge.
2. For the crumb, in a food processor, add all of the ingredients together and pulse until a soil-like consistency is achieved. Turn out onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat and distribute evenly. Bake crumb at 350 C until golden brown. Allow to cool.
3. For the meringue, in a standing mixer, add the egg whites, begin to whisk, and as the liquid begins to froth, slowly pour sugar. Whisk at ¾ speed until medium peaks form.
4. To plate, in the base of the bowls, add a generous pile of tart crumb. Top with a quenelle of lemon curd. Combine herbs, and lightly garnish the curd. Cover entirety of the dessert with meringue and with a torch, caramelize the topping.