Emerald Entrees: Harvest Flavors

“These ‘hemp’ plants of the pumpkin world are best for autumn decorating though they are fully edible and can be used for all the recipes you’ll find here.”

It’s a funny thing, pumpkins: just like cannabis, they come in varieties good for making useful products and others that are sweet and delicious to consume. And, like hemp and the kind bud, they all cheerfully cross-pollinate too. The differences in types of cannabis are commonly understood these days. With pumpkins, those differences are not so well known.

The pumpkins most of us know are usually carved into Jack O’Lanterns and plunked down in front of homes and businesses each Fall. According to History.com, that tradition comes from Celtic Ireland and Scotland, based on the tale of Stingy Jack, a fellow who successfully tricked the devil several times. When he died, Stingy Jack found himself unwelcome in either heaven or hell. Legend has it that the devil sent Jack off to wander the world with just a glowing coal that Jack placed in a carved out turnip to light his way eternally.

For hundreds of years, Celtic people in the British Isles have traditionally hollowed out and carved large turnips and potatoes they called Jack O’Lanterns to ward off evil spirits, especially important at the approach of All Hallow’s Eve, a time when the divide between the living and the dead was believed to be thinnest.

When the tradition moved to the New World, pumpkins became the lanterns of choice. They are native to the Americas and part of the nutritional wealth of native peoples on this continent, known as one the Three Sisters (corn, beans and squash) from the East Coast to Mexico. Natives introduced Europeans to the Three Sisters as well as the technique of growing the three together in hills – maximum food value with minimum disturbance to the land.

New York writer Washington Irving’s 1820 tale “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow popularized the Jack O’Lantern in the U.S., thrilling generations of readers with images of the Headless Horseman pursuing but not quite catching Ichabod Crane, who is never seen again. As the story goes, his hat is found near a smashed Jack O’Lantern.

Most of the huge, heavy pumpkins we find in every grocery store this time of year are destined for carving and slowly rotting on porches and in driveways. These “hemp” plants of the pumpkin world are best for autumn decorating though they are fully edible (don’t forget to roast the seeds from your Jack O’Lantern!) and can be used for all the recipes you’ll find here. Canned pumpkins are OK too. However, these are not the very best choices for eating.

The Kush of pumpkins is the sugar or pie pumpkin, by far the best for cooking. The flesh is sweeter and less fibrous and there is more of it, since they have not been bred to have a big hollow inside. You can usually tell them from Jack O’Lantern pumpkins because they tend to have lots more ribbing on the outside, and because they have not been bred to create a relatively smooth carving surface according to MarthaStewart.com. Find these at a Farmers Market or grocery produce section with a serious dedication to quality.

All of the recipes here have been adapted to include some preparation of the kind bud.

Baked Pumpkin Soup

1 4-pound sugar pumpkin, well rinsed

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

A round baking dish to fit the pumpkin.

  1. Make a wide opening and lid by cutting around the stem at a 45-degree angle. Make sure the opening will allow a ladle to pass through easily.
  2. Scoop out the seeds and fibers. An ice cream scoop works well for this. Save the seeds, fibers too if you want, for roasting later.
  3. Oil the inside of the baking dish and the outside of the pumpkin and lid.

Combine the following and pour into the pumpkin. Cover with the pumpkin lid and bake at 3750 Fahrenheit for 90 minutes.

2 tablespoons butter, cannabinated if you want

½ onion, diced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 apple, peeled, cored, diced

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (add more if you want it thinner)

½ cup heavy cream, cannabinated* if you want

  1. Remove from the oven. Take the lid off gently.
  2. Add: 2 ounces of goat cheese, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped, and several pieces of good bread drizzled with olive oil.
  3. Bake with the lid off for 30 minutes.

Carefully scrape the pumpkin from the walls of the shell. Puree with an immersion blender if you want it smooth or stir gently to break up the slabs of pumpkin if you want it chunky.

Serve by ladling the soup directly from the pumpkin.

*Here’s how to prepare cannabinated cream. After squeezing out all the oil from making an infusion of green bud, I save the ball of cannabis material to later steep in either whole milk or cream. The dairy fats pick up plenty of THC still remaining in the mash. Freeze for later use.

Pumpkin Chiffon Cheesecake Squares

Crust:

  1. Pulse batches of graham crackers in a food processor or crumble with your hands until you have crushed 24.
  2. Blend with ⅓ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup melted butter, cannabinated if you wish.
  3. Press evenly into a 9 by 13 pan.

Cheesecake:

  1. Whip together 8 ounces of room temperature cream cheese (regular or low fat), 2 eggs, ¾ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  2. Spread on top of the crust and bake in a 3250 oven for 20 minutes. Cool.

Pumpkin Chiffon:

  1. Beat together for two minutes 2 cups cooked pumpkin, 3 egg yolks, ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup milk (whole or low fat), ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon.
  2. Fold in one package of unflavored gelatin dissolved in ¼ cup of cold water.
  3. Cook in a double boiler (or heatproof glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water). The water should not reach the level of the bowl.
  4. Stir often and cook until thick. Cool.
  5. Fold in 3 egg whites whipped to stiff peaks with ¼ cup granulated sugar. Spread on cheesecake and chill for several hours.

Serve in squares with whipped cream on top, cannabinated if you wish.

If the recent hype on bulletproof coffee somehow passed you by, this hippie speedball version might blow your mind. The coffee phenomenon was brought mainstream by mountain climber Dave Asprey after a life changing experience in negative temperatures in Tibet.

He took refuge in guesthouse and he was served a cup of yak butter tea that brought him back to life. After years of tinkering with recipes, everyone from professional athletes to soccer moms are now blending the beneficial mix of saturated fats into their morning cup of java.

The science behind bulletproof coffee shows that fats slow the rate of caffeine absorption into the bloodstream, taking you on a nice mellow morning-long ride. Biologically speaking, coconut oil is filled with the medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) that American diets are frequently lacking. Responsible for boosting metabolism, fighting fat storage in the body and providing a concentrated blast of nutrients, MCFA’s are the secret behind coconut oil’s “superfood” status. Ironic as it may seem, blending coconut oil into black coffee creates a wonderfully frothy brew that curtails sugar and caffeine cravings without digestive turmoil or the dreaded crash. Want a little more medicine in your mug? Supplement the tried-and-true bulletproof formula with some DIY cannabis coconut oil for the ultimate hippie speedball. To keep the weed flavor mellow and bypass a negative edible experience, start with a smaller amount of cannabis coconut oil and increase as desired.

Cannabis-Infused Bulletproof Coffee

  • 1 ¼ cup fresh brewed black coffee
  • 2 tablespoons cannabis coconut oil (recommend 1 tablespoon regular/ 1 tablespoon cannabis)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)

Cannabis Coconut Oil

Over 91 percent saturated fat, coconut oil has the potential to absorb more far more cannabinoids than butter, acting as an extremely efficient carrier of THC. Use with caution and test carefully in recipes before directly subbing for cannabis butter.

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup trim

Combine in crockpot on low heat for at least eight hours. Strain through a cheesecloth and preserve cannabis coconut oil in a Mason jar. Use sparingly.

Herb Pot-Corn

Fall means football season across America and serious fans are spending Sunday fun-day drinking beer on the couch. If the seasonal slide into fall and larger pants concerns you, make sure to balance chill football days with healthy eats. With most classic beer pairings being heavy in the fried and cheesy department, try this herb-infused popcorn as a cannabis friendly alternative that’s equally mellow on your waistline and your mood. The herbaceous flavor of the cannabis blends happily with the savory flavors of the oregano and olive oil. Your bros will be impressed!

Herb Pot-Corn

  • 8 cups plain, organic popped corn (I recommend using a Whirley Pop popcorn for best results)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cannabis coconut oil (melted to room temperature)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano

 Written by Molly Cate and by Nora Mounce

Emerald contributor since July 2019

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