The Clever Root

Spring / Summer 2016

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8 6 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t ■cr Sweetly Macerated: The Fourth Course Dessert is simple, something often welcomed after a decadent multi-course meal: Shortcakes served with macerated strawberries and perfect quenelles of whipped cream. The sativa-blend strain used in this dish, infused in the strawberry liquid mixed with the berries, is fittingly called Strawberry Cough for its berry flavor and fresh strawberry aroma. "It's like pairing a glass of fine wine," Jagger tells me as I linger over the perfect sweet ending to the meal. "Like a sommelier, You take into account the taste preference of the person you're feeding, their likes, dislikes. And like grapes, you have to pick the plants when they're just right; timing is everything. You isolate each terpene to make natural flavor, and it becomes an experience for the olfactory senses." Jagger will often "pair" strains of marijuana that can be smoked along with each course, in order to elevate the flavors of the food, akin to drinking wines with aromas and tastes matching the food, which helps open up your palate to those particular flavors. He's quick to mention that, of course, overconsumption is still something to watch out for, so he recommends this pairing method only with dishes that are low -THC. But experimentation is the name of the game when it comes to cooking with cannabis, and Jagger believes we're just scratching the surface on the infused fine dining trend. He grins innocently: "With a joint here and a sprinkle of THC salt there, you can guide the dinner in different directions to satisfy everyone's palate and mood." Strawberries macerated with a Strawberry Cough strain, shortcakes and whipped cream. Dried and Slightly Sugared: The Second Course Jagger next plates a salad of dehydrated cannabis leaves, with chia, hemp, sesame and poppy seed- encrusted avocado and nori with a sesame miso dressing. The leaves, drizzled with sesame and olive oil and sprinkled with togarashi, a Japanese spice mixture, taste like crispy kale chips, an excellent contrast to the creaminess of the avocado and dressing. The Super Critical strain used has clean-tasting terpenes, well-suited to a refreshing salad. While the leaves—similar to the pickled plant—have little to no THC, there is also a THC sugar added to the dressing. Jagger explains that the method by which he extracts and makes infused sugars and salts is, indeed, a chemical process. "The marijuana is infused in a high-proof alcohol like Everclear, which acts as a solvent and helps bind the THC to the salt," Jagger details. "I then add salt or sugar to the liquid and put it in the oven on a low temperature, which forces the THC to bind to the salt or sugar molecules." Dehydrated cannabis leaves, seed-crusted avocado and nori with sesame miso dressing. Richly Infused: The Third Course The main course brings on those beautiful scallops, served with a side of roasted root vegetables and asparagus, and paired with a creamy, unoaked Chardonnay. The lemon beurre blanc is one of the best I've ever tasted: The rich, silky sauce is infused with a strain called Tangie, which is bursting with limonene terpenes, found in many strains of cannabis as well as citrus. "I prefer using fresh marijuana plants over dried, although it can be much more difficult to work with," confesses Jagger. "The fresh plant brings an acid and herbaceousness to sauces like the beurre blanc. With all the attention paid to the slow food movement right now in the culinary world, it's ridiculous not to acknowledge the amount of cannabis that is grown in California, and how it can bring some of the best flavor profiles to cooking." Seared scallops in a lemon beurre blanc with roasted root vegetables and asparagus.

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