Just because you can make that pasta with cannabis-infused butter doesn’t mean you should.

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The problem with cooking with weed is weed-infused guacamole.

It’s also weed-infused white bean curry dip (“It’s irresistible spread on warm toasted naan”), Italian-style stuffed mushrooms (“luscious cheesy goodness”), spaghetti with arugula pesto (“a double hit of arugula”), and soppressata and green onion pizza (“a new take on an old favorite”). These recipes come from “Herb: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Cannabis,” and they all sound great … so great, you’d want to eat them when you’re already high.

Cannabis-loaded food makes no sense considering the eventuality that is the munchies. You eat your baked French toast with cannabis, honey and pecan sauce — “this French toast is wake-and-bake potent,” promises “The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook” — then, finally feeling the effects an hour or so later, you’re hungry again. Whatever you do, don’t eat the leftovers, or you might end up stoned for the rest of your days.

Pot brownies might just be a classic for a reason. Clare Gordon, pastry chef at Seattle’s General Porpoise, Bateau and Bar Melusine, has experimented with making weed-powered cookies, ganache and ice cream (on her own time — it’s illegal to serve cannabis edibles in a restaurant here). Portion control with these — where the weed is evenly distributed throughout and a serving can be closely measured — is much easier than, say, a plate of pasta. So, what you might do: “Have [weed-enhanced] dessert first, then eat a bunch of stuff without weed in it … normal food that you’re not going to accidentally overdose on,” Gordon says. “That makes sense.”

These new weed cookbooks (and there’s a spate of them) do include sections on dosage, urging caution. But David Schmader, author of the forthcoming “Weed: The User’s Guide,” is highly skeptical. “Food is delicious, people get impatient waiting for their highs to land,” he says. “Unless you’re giving each of your guests a perfectly measured serving — ‘Here’s your paper cupcake holder containing one dose of weed guacamole!’ — it’s too risky.” You don’t want to Dowd it.

The waiting, Schmader notes, can take as long as two hours, so serving a weed-infused entree is “like having a cocktail party where people stand around chatting sober for an hour, then chug a martini on the way out the door.” By the time they’re well and truly high, they might be back at home. And hungry again.

Asked about pot guacamole, Jody Hall asserts, “I think that’s crazy. I honestly do.” The founder of Seattle’s Cupcake Royale has put a lot of thought into “building a consistent experience” for her edible-weed-goods operation, The Goodship Company. To avoid “couch glue,” she herself sticks with five milligrams of THC, or half a Goodship cookie or chocolate bar.

You can find Maria Hines’ recipe for I Can’t Believe It’s Pot Butter online, and the James Beard Award–winning local chef (Tilth, Agrodolce, Golden Beetle) exhibits a kitchen geek’s interest in weed cookery possibilities. It’s pretty easy to substitute the oil or butter in a dish with an activated weed version (though overheating it is deleterious to the psychoactive effects). But to avoid the debilitation in which “You don’t even get to enjoy your high because you can’t move your limbs,” Hines says bringing cannabis into recipes requires “thoughtfulness … As people start playing around and experimenting, they’re really going to have to take some notes — what kind of weed, the quality of it. They should be very aware of that.”

If you’ve got a cookie recipe that has “just the right amount of stoniness per cookie” for you, Hines suggests ascertaining how much weed butter each cookie contains, downloading a conversion app, then extrapolating from there for other dishes. If you were to make guacamole or pizza, she muses, you could do two batches: one with weed, and then one without, for worry-free munching. (“The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook” offers the same advice.)

But just as the continued existence of the Old Spaghetti Factory doesn’t mean you should eat there, just because you can cook with weed doesn’t mean you should. Most people don’t even think it tastes very good (hence the popularity of the ol’ brownie).

Hines rarely goes the edible route. Her thinking: Why cook using cannabis when you can cook after using cannabis?

She says it’s the most fun way to be in the kitchen: At home, pressure off, “then smoke a bowl, and then let’s cook!” She prizes the warmth and pleasure of making (non-cannabis) food for loved ones, nice and relaxed. But, she laughs, “Time management does become an issue … I’ve definitely put out some 10 p.m. meals when I’m stoned.” Use a timer, she advises, in case “you’re so in the present moment that you don’t look at a clock.”

That 10 p.m. dinner tastes incredible, she says, late though it may be.


Maria Hines’ Stoned Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Serves four

Time management with weed in the kitchen can be a challenge, but you can do it! Set the table before you get into the cooking. There’s nothing worse than having beautiful, hot, tasty food with nowhere to go. Next, pull out all the ingredients you need and measure them all out. This will keep you from forgetting anything when you start putting it all in the pan. And for full nutritional and environmental value, please use all organic ingredients.

Related video: Maria Hines' handmade pasta

James Beard Award winning chef Maria Hines mills and sifts Washington-grown ancient grains to make handmade pasta at Agrodolce. She also owns Tilth and Golden Beetle, all certified-organic restaurants. Read more. (Corinne Chin / The Seattle Times)

2 ½ cups spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato, minced

Juice of half a lemon and the lemon zest of a whole one

3 ½ tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

4 tablespoons Parmesan

1. Get stoned.

2. Cook dried pasta in a pot of boiling water and strain. Add olive oil and garlic to a large sauté pan, then slowly heat up to medium, so the garlic cooks lightly without browning. Then quickly add in pasta, red chili flakes, capers, sun-dried tomato, lemon juice and lemon zest.

3. Once all the ingredients are warmed through, add the butter and Italian parsley and mix it thoroughly through the pasta. Garnish with grated Parmesan. Enjoy high!