Baked Mac n' Cheese with Bacon

Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.

IMG 9140Growing up in Santa Cruz, Little Heather learned alternative values as taught by hippie parents, including the benefits of a natural, organic lifestyle. As a young woman, Heather has translated these values into her cooking, creating cannabis-infused edibles using high-quality ingredients. After winning a second place prize at a local cannabis contest, Heather decided, "Yes, I should do this!" and embarked on creating her own business, Little Heather's Edibles, teaming up with her friend Khalil at the newly formed Kind People's Collective. With such deep roots in the local community, Heather connected with local, organic cannabis farmers, and uses their finest products to infuse into her foods. "I'm an advocate for cold-water hash," Heather proclaims, "BHO is so new that we don't know how long-term use could affect us."

Many Santa Cruz locals have started a backlash against BHO, favoring cold-water hash instead for its safety, purity and incredible flavor. "There's a bitter taste to solvents," Heather says, "but cold-water hash is earthy and a lot of people really enjoy that flavor." Working with Kind People's and a few California delivery services, Little Heather focuses on providing artisanal quality baked goods and confections, including infused ice creams through her co-venture with Kind Creamery. Her caramel corn is a bestseller, along with ginger snaps and custom orders for high-end cakes. 

Heather's recipe for Baked Mac n' Cheese is deliciously decadent, due to the addition of bacon as well as crumbled cheesy crackers for the crisp topping. "Most people don't think about adding hash butter to savory dishes," Heather says, "but I love dairy with cannabis, it's so fatty and adds a lot of flavor." Portion this pasta into smaller ramekins for better control over dosage and serving size, and watch your guests devour this cheesy comfort food staple. The secret weapon is the cheese crackers, which Heather says "kick it up a notch!"

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Cannabis Cup Edibles Judge

EDIBLES MMJ07I've been reviewing edibles for the High Times Cannabis Cup competitions since 2012, and have sampled over 500 sweet and savory infused items. Edibles are evaluated according to their taste, appearance, potency (as assessed by lab testing), originality, healthiness and quality of packaging and labeling information.

One of the objectives of the HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup competitions has been to raise the bar for makers of infused products. In the edibles category, judges reward not only the competitors with the most professional packaging, but also the tastiest and most innovative new items.

When shopping for edibles, it’s best to find a treat that is dosed appropriately for you, meaning the recommended serving size should deliver your desired amount of THC in a portion that will satisfy a sweet tooth. Avoid the super-strong tiny truffle that needs to be sliced into razor-thin pieces for a decent dose, along with the huge slice of cheesecake that only delivers a small THC payload. The ideal edible is something that will neither get you too high or too fat, but please your palate with a dose that’s “just right.” Start with 20 to 50 milligrams if you’re a seasoned smoker, and nibble only 10 mg of THC if you’ve never used the herb before.—2013 Best Edibles List