Story Recipe

If you want to see a lively discussion break out in the Stoned Soup kitchen, bring up the topic of cannabis culture. Taunt Cook with terms like "Puff-puff-pass" or "Trees" and you will kick off a tirade about mis-guided counter culture hippies. Tell Frank it is 4:20 and he will fix you with a blood shot eye that is no slave to the clock or tradition. Jennifer will talk your ear off about the history of the Waldos while she stencils marijuana leaves on the windows. Leslie and I give each other a knowing wink as we imbibe in our own culture of bedtime cookies that lead to love and dreams.

Tomorrow, the calendar rolls over to 4/20 - MJ Day across the country. Now that marijuana is legal in Washington, we are expecting huge events celebrating cannabis culture. After the arguments that broke out last week when Cook told Jennifer that all her efforts towards a party were a waste of time (He is sure that legalization will create a whole new, more sophisticated culture that will push out the old ways. Jennifer fired back that Cook was a mean ol' square), Frank's middle daughter, Donna, made us all promise to keep the day low key and polite. Cook agreed, but refuses to prepare anything for the holiday, so I said I'd make hors d'oeuvres and cocktails.

I picked the Indian drink, Bhang for the cocktails and stuffed peppers for the hor d'oeuvres. I didn't think too much about traditions here. I could go into a story about Bhang being integral to the Holi festival that unites India and that peppers are shaped like the pipes used by ancient tribes, but that would be stretching the  truth. The fact is, I picked Bhang, because I've wanted to try it for a long time now and I picked stuffed peppers because there was a great selection of tiny, colorful peppers at the market this week.

To make the Bhang, I simmered an ounce of shake in two cups of water for about 7 minutes. I strained the pot, saving the water. I have a special sieve for this with a very fine mesh, but you can use coffee filters or cheese cloth if you want. The key is to squeeze as much water out as you can.

The strained pot went into my medium sized mortar along with two tablespoons of warm milk. I mashed this until the milk turned a greenish color. I put the mush back through the sieve adding the milk to the water from the simmering step and putting the pot back in the mortar. I added another two tablespoons of milk and then mashed and sieved again. I repeated this process until I had a half a cup of milk. The process is a pain, but this is a religious drink and I am reluctant to make any changes to the ceremony on the off chance that such changes might piss off Shiva.

The next step was to chop up two tablespoons of blanched almonds which I added to the pot in the mortar. I poured in enough warm milk to cover the solids and mashed everything into a thick paste. I strained this paste into the rest of the liquid and added an eighth teaspoon of garam masala from the Indian grocery store, a quarter teaspoon powdered ginger, three quarters of a cup of sugar, half a teaspoon of rose water (also from the Indian grocery) and three cups of warm milk.

I stirred the mixture well and put it in the 'fridge. This is supposed to serve over 40 people, so we are all set for drop in guests.

For the peppers, I mixed up a few cans of crab meat, some ginger, Marinnaise, onions, celery and a dash of Old Bay seasoning. I cut the peppers in half and filled the halves with the crab mixture. The 'fridge is full of trays of peppers ready to go into a 375 degree oven until the peppers collapse a bit.

Now that everything is ready, I need to tie dye a shirt and find my old bell bottom jeans.


Happy 4/20 every one!




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