Image via Cann-I-Crave
Valentine’s Day is an economic boom. People spend two billion dollars on flowers alone and dispensaries serving up cannabis buds see this push, too. In fact, MJ Biz Daily reported a 7 percent spike in dispensary sales across three states last year, proving that cannabis has infiltrated the romantic narrative of Valentine’s Day. And why not? Weed's potential to get the love-juices flowing and heighten connection is a great way to celebrate this sultry holiday.
While New York lags behind the West Coast in terms of legal weed regulations, its booming underground ain’t nothing to fuck with. As a result, medical cannabis practitioners and patients are finding creative ways to cultivate a network of supportive — and tasty — means of medicating.
That’s how we met Cann-I-Crave’s Dyani (who asked we withhold her last name for anonymity), an intrepid edibles entrepreneur living in Queens and doling out one-of-a-kind and generously-seasoned delicacies for her fans. Crossing paths at one of NYC’s many foodie events, Dyani’s authentic Caribbean beef patties were one of the most original (and strongest) ways to get high we’ve experienced in a minute. The flavor was reminiscent of the iconic patties NYC is known for, properly repping the city's large Caribbean community.
Dyani runs Cann-I-Crave, a mobile, members-only "medibles" outlet with a passion for activism and a desire to help people experience the soul-deep relief only cannabis can evoke. Cann-I-Crave uses a novel format for weed infusions — menus are limited and specially designed to match the collective social calendar — like the medicated buffalo wings with 10mgs of THC that she slinged around the city on Super Bowl Sunday.
To say she’s beloved by the East Coast is an understatement. And, just in time for Valentine’s Day, our darling D was gracious enough to share her recipe for a powerfully-infused Tuscan Chicken Pasta dish that’s quick to whip up, which will satiate your munchies while setting the mood for any type of V-Day affair.
Cann-I-Crave’s Easy Date Night Pasta
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes from scratch / 20 minutes from store bought
Yield: Four 50mg servings
- 1 box spaghetti
- grilled chicken breast (ideally 2 pounds)
- 2 tbsp olive oil for cooking
- 1 tbsp cannabis infused olive oil (more on that below)
- 2 cups tomato sauce or 2 lbs of fresh vine tomatoes
- A few leaves of basil
- Parsley for sprinkling
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Parmesan for garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil while you gather the ingredients.
If you are making this from scratch, use a cast iron and a medium-sized saucepan, and heat up some olive oil in both. Clean the chicken breasts and season liberally with garlic, rosemary, seasoned salt, oregano, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper. Pan sear for seven minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F.
To make the tomato sauce, purée fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, oregano basil, salt, and one tablespoon of infused olive oil in a blender. Simmer in the saucepan for 20 minutes.
If you're making from store-bought materials, assemble your ingredients while the water boils, then heat up some olive oil in a big pan.
When the water is rolling rapidly, boil the pasta to al dente, according to the box’s instructions.
Quickly reheat the chicken, then put aside. Replenish the olive oil, then heat up two cloves of minced garlic and soften, don’t brown.
Add the tomato sauce, infused olive oil, and ¼ cup pasta water. Drain the pasta, add to the pan, tear basil in, then toss to coat the pasta in all of the yummy sauce.
Serve using a big plate and top with the chicken, then cover with shaved parmesan and garnish with parsley and basil.
*How to Make Cannabis-Infused Olive Oil:
Decarb four grams of your favorite flower at 225°F for 20 minutes. Seal in a vac bag with ¼ cup of olive oil and heat for 90 minutes in simmering — but not boiling — water. Strain and cool to room temperature before using. Makes four tablespoons of 100mg oil if you’re using 10% THC flower, but adjust depending on the potency of your flower.
MERRY JANE: Why is this the perfect pasta for Valentine’s Day or a cute date night year-round?
Dyani: Make this Tuscan Chicken Pasta because it's yummy and empowering, you're playing a part in making your meal and also self-medicating. It's a whole experience. Cooking and indulging at the same time is cute to do as a couple because getting high together is a psychoactive experience; all of your senses are engaged. It's a way to be intimate with your partner. Whatever happens after the meal is whatever happens after the meal!
What is Cann-I-Crave up to during a time when legalization is lacking on the East Coast?
I’m trying to educate myself in every way possible to prepare for legalization, and take the necessary steps to join the formal market. This means networking with licensed professionals, lobbying and doing groundwork, advocating for cannabis in my daily life to the people around me.
I’m currently working with the Long Island Progressive Coalition specifically to work on legalization, climate change, and education reform. We’ve been canvassing in the Nassau and Suffolk county areas to get support for marijuana justice via signed postcards that are sent to their state senators.
If you could open up a shop tomorrow, would you? What does the legal market need to accomplish to make it welcoming to small business owners?
Cann-I-Crave would need more time and infrastructure to launch; the current socio-economic situation with cannabis is precarious. I wouldn’t feel safe or supported. I feel like my business could be taken from me, so I wouldn’t be ready to open right away.
The legal market needs to embrace the legacy market — they need to find a way to streamline those professionals into the legal market.
You use a membership model and are social media savvy to keep your fans informed. What have you learned from this?
The membership is a way to know who I am dealing with in this type of business; it’s my way of screening the customer. This also helps me confirm that they are adults, because it's not that kind of (underage) party.
I wanted to do something different and keep things fresh. There is a different vibe with Can-I-Crave. It’s unique, cultural, and it’s tasty as fuck. In a marketing and fiscal sense, I have noticed that exclusive menus increase sales. People want to make sure they cop things while they are available!
Follow Cann-I-Crave more at @cannicravemore
Follow Danielle Guercio on Instagram @Realdanhell