Denver, Colorado-based Jessica Catalano has been blogging about herb for seven years, despite her love affair with ganj kicking off a few years before that. Since she started publically exploring all the medicinal and spiritual uses of marijuana, the chef and writer really hasn’t taken a break. Not only did she compile the encyclopedic The Ganja Kitchen Revolution: The Bible of Cannabis Cuisine, but Catalano also teaches cannabis cooking classes and continues writing for places like High Times, SKUNK, and Cannabis Now.
Catalano caught up with MERRY JANE to talk about how edibles culture has evolved since she got interested in 1997, as well as women’s role in the cannabis industry. She also shared a recipe for Vietnamese Lemon Kush Kief Spring Rolls, which, OMG.
Vietnamese Lemon Kush Kief Spring Rolls
.... An excerpt from The Ganja Kitchen Revolution Book
Jessica Catalano’s note: Spring rolls are commonly known as “summer rolls” in Vietnam. These rolls can be filled with a variety of fresh ingredients that reflect the freshness of the spring and summer months. Lemon Kush’s lemony taste with floral and mint undertones deepens the flavors in this dish because of the similar taste profiles in the food items. Enjoy as an appetizer or even as a light meal.
16 small sprigs Thai basil
16 mint leaves
8 rice wrappers
4 servings of dosed decarboxylated Lemon Kush kief (about .25 grams of kief per serving)
2 cups chopped lettuce mix of your choice
1/2 cup shredded carrot
4 ounces vermicelli noodles
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon lime juice
6 tablespoons sweet red chili sauce
2 tablespoons crushed peanuts
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
In a medium-sized ramekin, mix all of the ingredients listed under the dipping sauce section until well combined. Cover then set aside to let the flavors deepen.
Soak the vermicelli noodles in hot water until fully soft or according to directions on the package. Drain, divide into 8 small portions, and set aside.
Now soak the rice papers in hot water until fully soft, or according to directions on the package. Place one portion of vermicelli noodle down on one corner of the rice paper, leaving a little room.
Slice 1 avocado into 8 sections and set aside. Place 1 slice of avocado on top of the vermicelli noodle. Divide the chopped lettuce mix into 8 portions or 1/4 cup each. Spread 1 portion of chopped lettuce mixture onto the avocado. Divide the shredded carrot into 8 portions or 1 tablespoon each. Spread 1 portion of the shredded carrot on top of the chopped lettuce mixture. Place two sprigs of Thai basil on top of the shredded carrot; follow with two mint leaves.
Take 1 dose of dosed decarboxylated Lemon Kush kief and divide it into two. Sprinkle half of the dosed decarboxylated Lemon Kush kief and save the other half for the next spring roll. Remember, there will be four servings with two spring rolls per serving. Flip both sides of the rice paper over, then roll from the bottom of the spring roll forward to encase the filling. Plate with the dipping sauce and serve.
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Even though this is an appetizer dish, it is designed for a full dose per serving due to its versatility in being potentially used for a light lunch or light dinner dish. If you plan on making a medicated dish to follow these spring rolls as appetizers, you can lower the medication by cutting each dose in half.
Jessica Catalano, photo via
MERRY JANE: Tell me a little about the development of The Ganja Kitchen Revolution cookbook. What kind of processes did you go into to cultivate these recipes?
Jessica Catalano: The production of TGKR cookbook took almost three years from start to finish because it was so comprehensive. I compiled recipes that were near and dear to me that I had developed on my own. They were renditions of classic international dishes that anyone could make in the comfort of their own home.
Tell me a little about the dish you're sharing with us today. How did you develop it? Any pairing suggestions?
Vietnamese Lemon Kush Kief Spring Rolls are a great spring treat, so I thought it would be the perfect recipe to share with all the fresh produce hitting the grocery stores. I developed this recipe based on my favorite spring rolls at one of my regular Vietnamese pho restaurants here in Colorado. It was an interpretation that I produced so that I could enjoy this delicious treat at home whenever I wanted.
If you cannot find Lemon Kush, there are several alternative strains that possess similar terpenes. Lime Green Skunk, Lime Haze, Lemon Lime Kush, Super Lemon Haze, Key Lime Pie, and Chernobyl are great substitutes. Just follow your nose and taste buds to use a strain that has complementary or analogous flavor profiles. Happy strain pairing!
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You teach cannabis cooking classes. What are some of the most difficult aspects of cooking with cannabis? What are some common mistakes you experience with students? Any funny stories to share?
Some of the most difficult aspects of cooking with cannabis concerning students is clearing away any misconceptions about weed and trying not to overwhelm them with the amount of information that they need to be successful. Some common mistakes I have experienced with students are not decarbing their cannabis properly before infusion and overcooking their cannabis butter which results in an acrid taste on the palate, due to too much chlorophyll being released.
You say you've been an enthusiastic weed user since 1997, but didn't go public with a blog about it till 2010. What inspired you to make the leap?
In 2010, I was overcome one day with an intense urge to share my recipes in the hopes that it would help others because they had helped me so much. This urge absolutely clouded my mind and I felt compelled to start putting together a blog. By that evening, I had the blog set up, the layout done, the first posts in queue, all while under the inspiration of a gift from God — cannabis.
We women are still not heavily represented in marijuana culture, but that appears to be changing. Tell me a little about the unique relationship women have with weed.
Women have had a long history with cannabis, even though it has been dominated by males throughout the centuries. Medicine women have used it to treat various bodily ailments in all of its different forms. This knowledge was passed on generation to generation, so that women could use cannabis effectively to treat everything from menstrual cramps, to help stimulate contractions during childbirth, to help ease pain, etc.
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What kind of projects do you have on the immediate horizon?
My next big project will be my second book, which will be getting started very soon. It is going to be very exciting, so I cannot wait to share it!
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