ESSEX — Would you dress a summer salad in a CBD-infused vinaigrette? Or add a few tablespoons of hemp oil to chocolate coconut bars?
Tracey Medeiros, a cookbook author and longtime Essex Junction resident, wants you to try it. Her fifth and latest book, “The Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” includes 125 delicious recipes that feature CBD, hemp and THC.
“I wanted to write a book that showcased the cannabis landscape, and the folks behind the movement,” she told the Reporter earlier this week. “I just started calling folks and introducing myself and they started sending recipes, and they were beautiful, nourishing and creative.”
In individual profiles, Medeiros introduces readers to dozens of organic farmers, award-winning chefs, artisans and food producers who are leading the green revolution. Many are doing their part to demystify cannabis and its culinary use.
Cooking with the ingredient could become even more mainstream this October, when retail cannabis sales become legal in many Vermont towns, including Essex and St. Albans.
Five Vermont businesses contributed recipes to the CBD and hemp chapters: Green Goddess Café in Stowe, Luce Farm Wellness in Stockbridge, Zenbarn in Waterbury, 5 Birds Farm & Regenerative Wellness in Woodstock and Elmore Mountain Therapeutics.
Athena Scheidet and Tim Callahan, owners of Green Goddess Cafe, shared their recipes for a refreshing and creamy “Jamaican Me Shake” — with pineapple, avocado and CBD oil — and a silky and rich grilled cheese with CBD Herbes De Provence butter, pesto aioli and mozzarella.
“All of my books are community cookbooks,” she said. “So when I reached out to these folks, I asked, ‘What do you want to see in this book that you haven’t seen in other cannabis cookbooks?’”
The result is a 406-page book perfect for those who are looking to cook with cannabis for the first time. It features cooking tips and sidebars from Medeiros, as well as education on the differences between CBD (cannabidiol) and hemp — the nonpsychoactive parts of the cannabis plant — and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
Here’s what else Medeiros told the Reporter’s Bridget Higdon about the book:
Bridget Higdon: In the book’s introduction, you explain that Vermont was the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana legislatively, and how that was a part of your inspiration for the book. Can you expand on that?
Tracey Medeiros: Sure. Vermont has always inspired me. Its focus on food systems and building community wellness through food has always been one of my favorite things about living in Vermont. Farmers here work to affect positive change, not only just for today but for tomorrow.
When Vermont started the process of cannabis legalization, I just kept reading all of these articles about the plant's potential for medicinal benefits, so I started researching folks in the industry who use this plant to create recipes. I was just blown away by how these people are transforming the culinary and cannabis landscape.
BH: Had you cooked with cannabis before starting on this book?
TM: This was my first experience working with cannabis. I learned so much. When folks are very passionate about something, they love to share, and they're very generous and they want to educate so this movement can continue and grow.
BH: I am so impressed that the book covers each region of the United States — even Canada. It obviously would have been easier for you to just focus on the Northeast, so tell me, what was behind your choice to cover so much territory?
TM: It's funny, when I start these projects out, I leave the design and the layout of the book for the very end. I never know where I'm going to go with it.
After I had collected all my recipes and written all my profiles, I sat down and thought this would be interesting — not only to split the book into CBD, hemp and THC — but to divide it by region, enabling folks to see what each of these areas are doing with cannabis and how they are incorporating this plant into their local cuisine.
BH: You really do have something for everyone in here. There are recipes for seafood, dessert, meat and vegetarian dishes. Did you seek out a wide variety of recipes or did the collection come more naturally?
TM: It's very important for me to include everyone, but also, when I approach a contributor, I leave the recipe up to them, because I don't want to tell them it has to be a chicken dish, and then they have this amazing pasta dish that I missed out on.
If I notice at the end of the process I'm, say, short on a seafood dish, I may go back to a source and say would you be willing to contribute, you know, another recipe.
BH: Is cannabis something you’ve now worked into your own diet or lifestyle?
TM: Oh, absolutely. I love CBD creams for your face and other skincare products.