By Nora Mounce
I always suspected that cooking a rack of lamb was secretly easier than it looked. In this recipe, all you need to do is prepare a simple rub and roast the lamb. I made this dish to celebrate moving into a new house this New Year’s Eve. It felt like a special occasion, but truth be told, the rack of lamb was super easy to make! Shop for California raised lamb, always grass fed, and enjoy this dish on a weeknight.
During a year studying abroad in Prague, Czech Republic, Chrissy Bellman watched her fellow American exchange students struggling over a batch of pot brownies. Predictably, they made a big, stinky mess. You have a similar memory of college (or the 70s), I’m sure. But Bellman, smelling her destiny in the hashish fumes, thought there had to be a smarter way. After graduating from New York University (NYU) and putting in a few years in finance at IBM, Bellman’s passion for natural medicine still tugged at her heartstrings.
By self-funding the business and personally overseeing product development, Bellman launched LEVO in 2016. She and her team of designers are relentless in their quest to perfect the sleek, yet coy, LEVO – an herbal infusion appliance for the home kitchen.
“Cannabis is just another plant we can use for food and medicine,” says Olivia Harris, LEVO’s head of brand. By using controlled heat to extract flavor, scent, color, and nutrients into butters or oil, LEVO allows users to create unique products at home. Professional chefs often infuse proprietary oils to finish dishes with a vibrant and signature flavor. If you’re in the kitchen for hours a day, keeping half an eye on infusions, this is plausible. But for everyday folks, infusing oils has always seemed mystifying enough to keep such luxuries beyond our reach. Herb-infused oils are things we shop for on vacation in Napa, or gift co-workers during the holidays. But by automating the process, LEVO strives to expand our culinary prowess by making home infusion seamless and reliable.
“LEVO can be one thing for someone and something else for someone else,” explains Harris. Users can easily create homemade lavender oil for body scrubs, or garlic-infused butter to melt on grilled salmon. The options are truly endless. The appliance offers the opportunity to create cannabis-infused oils and butter, without a detectable smell, for the first time.
As someone who makes cannabis-infused dishes on the regular, I was eager to try the LEVO. Unwrapping my box of goodies and accessories, all stylishly packaged, I was particularly charmed with how good the classy, pink LEVO looked in my old, Victorian house. While charmed, I took my time before cracking the instruction manual: My internal logic says that if reading instructions is required, I don’t have time! But with LEVO, while reading the instructions is essential, it’s only necessary for your initial go. I recommend watching the short video published on the LEVO website, where they explain the subtle operation of their pinch valve mechanism.
The silicon nozzle, which is removable and dishwasher safe, keeps the oil in the reservoir until you’re ready to dispense. As you might imagine, an operational faux pas can make a mess! But after understanding how the machine works, it’s simply a matter of packing the Power Pod with your choice of plant matter, adding oil (or butter), setting it, and forgetting it. The LEVO team has experimented with fruits, nuts, seeds, roots, peppers, and of course, flowers.
“An herb is an herb is herb,” says Harris. In the 29 states where medical cannabis is legal, home infusion is a great delivery system to safely consume beneficial cannabinoids. Offering cannabis users an accessible approach to DIY canna-butter and infused oils, the home appliance is also helping normalize cannabis use throughout the country.
LEVO is stylish, efficient, and however you choose to use it, is your business. To honor LEVO’s versatility and create a new infusion for my home kitchen, I used LEVO to make a batch of rosemary-cannabis olive oil. The result was flavorful and vibrant, and the herbal blend quickly lent itself to a number of dishes. Using a blend of Harle-Tsu and Skittles for bud, I kept the CBD profile high and my oil mellow.
If you come across a LEVO, be fearless in experimenting! In the meantime, here are two recipes where my rosemary-cannabis olive oil shined with medicinal and delicious results.
5 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves,
2 tablespoons rosemary-cannabis olive oil
1 rack of lamb, frenched* (1.5-2 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
In the bowl of your food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary, and LEVO oil; process until the garlic is finely chopped.
Season the lamb rack with salt and pepper before rubbing the garlic and rosemary-cannabis oil mixture all over the lamb.
Set the rack, fat side up, on a rimmed baking sheet and let marinate for one hour.
Preheat the oven to 450°. Roast the lamb on the top rack of your oven for 15 minutes. If you like it rare, check the lamb now, noting that the USDA recommends a safe cooking temp of 145 degrees. Going with the pro’s recommendation, I aim for a perfect medium-rare, which means cooking it longer. Flip the rack, so the fat side is down, and roast for 10 more minutes.
Transfer the rack to a carving board and allow to rest briefly before serving.
Using a sharp paring knife, cut in between each bone. Two or three “lollipops,” a common nickname for the tender knobs of meat, are an ideal serving per person. Serve warm, but cold leftover lollipops are also a treat.