Green Stoner Foods: Easy Pesto With Penne

Please don't tell me you are the stoner that survives on peanut butter sandwiches or Kraft mac n chee. There is a world of flavor out there for the curiously stoned and most of it ain't that hard. Take for example tonight's entree: Penne pesto with fresh mozzarella. It takes as long as the pasta does to cook and you've made yourself ( and perhaps a lady or boyfriend) a meal worth talking about. Everybody can boil water and cook pasta, even the chronically stoned. Taking just a little bit more effort than opening a jar by using a small food processor or magic bullet can make a pasta dish that will quickly go into your usual rotation. So why would stoners go through the very little extra effort to make their own pesto? It's green ain't it? Get baked and make some!

My version takes a page from my Sicilian heritage by using roasted almonds instead of the crazy expensive pine nuts. You can use other hard nuts as well: walnuts, piscacios are great, but you can use any nut you see but raw almonds are a couple dollars cheaper than traditional pine nuts (pinoli) and when roasted give an really rich and deep flavor, for hardly any work at all. Here is how I do it:

Stoner's Pesto Pasta

1/2 cup raw almonds (or pistachios)
1.5 - 2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 small clove of garlic ( you can add much more, I use just enough to know it"s in there)
1/2+ cups grated Italian hard cheese (Parmigiano, Pecorino, Grana Padano or any equivalent)
Salt and pepper to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Pasta of choice: (My choices: penne, farfalle, gemelli, spaghetti and if you can find it, the traditional trofie pasta from the Italian Liguria.

First off preheat oven to 350F and lay almonds on a foiled baking sheet. Roast nuts for about 10 minutes then set aside to cool. Prepare large pot of water and get it to a roiling boil before adding salt. When water goes back to boil, dump pasta in and cook according to box. While pasta is cooking pulse roasted nuts in a course powder then add most of the basil and a bit of olive oil. If the mixture is not green enough add the rest of the basil, more olive oil and pulse again until reaching desired thickness. Next add a generous amount of grated cheese and mix well. Taste and add salt and pepper accordingly. If flavor is just right but pasta is not finished top off with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from losing color. When pasta is done, strain but leave a bit of cooking water in the pot and add the pesto. Mix well over a low flame so the sauce is infused into the pasta. I like to touch  it up with a few slices of fresh mozzarella. Serve with a crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc or an Italian white like Sciacchetra.

Of course, how could I forget that both the oil and the "green" in the pesto could be enhanced with the use of canna oil or maybe even just grinding up a few buds into the basil and oil mix.  I tried it once and it tasted just like regular pesto, except that I passed out way too early. The heat from the the hot pasta should activate the THC in the bud, so between an extra green pesto and a nice white wine, it could be like a real cheap trip to the Italian Riviera.


Deeper Thoughts...

So another blizzard is here, blowing 45mph winds across our rocky coast, with another due on Wednesday. Since the last post there has been some tragedy among family and friends and with two funerals in two days I had to break out my Gandalf Pipe for some deep thoughts on living and dying before technology.

We are so dependent upon the luxuries of the modern world and nothing brings that out than majorly bad weather. It's like mother nature giving you a bitch slap and saying "you are nothing but ants, I can wipe you all out whenever I want." I have never seen so much snow in my life, it's like Siberia except we are not set up to deal with it. That really hit home this week when we had to deal with clearing cemetery plots that are under 5-6 feet of snow.

In the old days, once frost set in you could not be buried. Cemeteries had holding chambers to put caskets until the ground thawed enough to dig. And they were still doing this right up into living memory, how much we take for granted.

It's crazy what has changed just in my own lifetime. In high school I didn't even have a computer, I had a typewriter and a Sega Genesis. Right now there are at least 5 things in my house that are connected to the Internet right now. When I was a kid, where I am from, school was not cancelled, business didn't close...now?


Cannabis Pain Relief

After all this snow shoveling and playing with my kid, I am really in a lot of pain. Besides the expected muscle pain, every joint on my body hurts, even my fingers. It hurts just to keep my hands in a typing position. It is not just from the shoveling, but all that work brings out the lingering pain I have to the forefront. Some of this stems from my hip condition, some from the breakdown of cartilage in my knees, some has not been diagnosed yet, and some is due to some type of autoimmune condition probably associated with my irritable bowel syndrome. Needless to say after several feet of snow in three weeks, I'm in a world of hurt.

I've tried quite a few "pain relievers" over the years - from opiates to muscle relaxers to NSAID's to herbal supplements to even off-label antidepressants. In my experience these either work, but with consequences (incapacitation, addiction, bowel troubles) or don't work enough or at all (I'm looking at you alternative medicine). I find that the strains of cannabis I use fall in between these two extremes: it works enough to get me by and the side effects (being stoned) become manageable with experience.

The trick I find is that if it is a working day you smoke just enough to get a little "snap" - I guess it also depends upon what line of work you are in. For me, I use my brain more than my body at work but I still have to be ready for anything. I know indica strains are suggested for my kind of pain, but they turn me into a literal dope, almost like some muscle relaxers I've been prescribed in the past. That's fine when you are at home or at night, but I usually got shit to do! A little bit of a sativa strain can get my mind focused on other things besides "my legs don't want to bend" or "I have shooting electric pains right next to my crotch."

Do you have stories to tell about cannabis pain relief? Add to the comments!


As Snow Gets Higher - So Do I

Just in from an hour of hard shoveling when I realized I'm not nearly baked enough to tackle this. So I'm back in the house warming up with some hot chocolate and a turkey bag of Cinderella. My back and hips hate me right now but they will have to wait, can't break out any indica until tonight.

So what did you all think of my movie list from last post? I plan on doing another list soon on sci-fi/fantasy movies if I ever get that kind of free time again.


Comedy Movies For Stoners: My Ultimate List

Title is a bit redundant ain't it? When you are baked most comedies are great, but here is my all-time list of great stoner comedies. Some of these are classics of "stoner comedy" while others are just funny (and made even funnier)...on weed. With yet another snowstorm here (bringing another 2 feet!) the Blu-Ray player and the cable on-Demand will be working overtime.

I know there are tons more classic stoner comedies that I've forgotten to add to this list. Did I miss your favorite? Got a suggestion for the list? Add it to the comments!

40-Year Old Virgin: Steve Carell is a hairy comedic genius, ad-libbing most of his lines. Paul Rudd is great in everything of course, and there is even a brief part with a young Kevin Hart. It also introduced us to Seth Rogan, who made a name for himself shortly after.

American Pie Trilogy: A fun set of stoner/teen party/gross out movies with the third one being my favorite. That dance off with Stiffler is a classic. I don't count the fourth movie or all those stupid-ass spin offs, they are just money-grabs.

Anchorman: Honestly, I didn't like this one as much until I saw it a few times, then it grew on me. So many quotable lines that we stoners like to break out at the right time. Besides, Christina Applegate is still hot long after her days as Kelly Bundy. I liked the sequel too, but I haven't watched it enough for it to be burned into my memory yet.

Billy Madison: There was a time back in the 90's when Adam Sandler made some funny-ass movies. I remember having no interest in seeing this flick in the theater, but my friends rented it one night and we laughed so hard one them puked! Like a lot of his stuff, it has been overdone and been absorbed into the larger culture, but give credit where credit is due - at the time all his stuff was insanely funny.

Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke: These guys invented the genre of stoner comedy with their albums in the 1970's. Their first movie is like the Citizen Kane or Gone With The Wind of drug movies. If you haven't seen this ground breaker, then turn in your pothead ID card.

Dazed and Confused: This movie is about how stoners from my generation imagined their parents getting stoned in the 1970's. The days of cheap gas and muscle cars, drinking at 18, and pounds of weed for much less than we pay an ounce. The keg party was virtually ripped right from my memory, both as a small child and as a teenager. Added bonus is it showcases some huge stars early in their careers: Ben Affleck and  Mathew McConaughey .

Don't Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood: Where do I begin...A brilliant spoof of hood movies with a blunt smoking, foul mouthed grandma. What's not to like? The Wayan's have produced their fair share of crap...this ain't crap.

Idiocracy: I can't tell if this is an excellent, under-the-radar comedy, or a scary documentary about what's happening to society. Whatever it is, it is fucking hilarious. I can't say the word "electrolytes" without laughing. Brought to you by Carl's Jr....

Fast Times at Ridgemont High: Want to know what Sean Penn was like before he got all serious and brooding like Johnny Depp on heroin? Check out this 80's classic. His Spicoli character has become society's vision of every stoner surfer, snowboarder, general slacker or anyone else that starts a sentence with "dude." Talk about a trend setter...oh an you get to see Phoebe Cates' tits too!

Half Baked: This is the movie they show in Pothead 101 at weed college...or at least it should be. If you haven't seen this, you have not earned your stoner badge yet. "He slept with my mama....WHY?"

The Hangover: I like all of the Hangover movies, but the first one, the first time I saw it, was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time. I didn't expect a crazy, naked Korean with a crowbar to leap out of that trunk, did you?

Happy Gilmore: Another great one made before Adam Sandler got old and started making (mostly) unfunny movies. Some say Tiger Woods got young people golfing, for me and my gang it was this movie. And we weren't the only ones smoking weed between holes and teeing off with a running start.

Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle: I wish their later movies were as funny as this one, I almost had an aneurysm the first time I watched it from laughing so hard. Several parts were lifted from movies like Tommy Boy, but they do it their way and it works.

How High: So how do two gansta rappers make it to Harvard? With weed of course! This is one stoner comedy that ONLY makes sense if you are cooked. Plus they gave away my secret to test taking: Get so fucking stoned before the test that a ghost pops up and gives you the answers.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back: I've seen all of Kevin Smith's "view askew" movies several times and I've come to this conclusion: I hate all the main characters, and most of the movies themselves...except Jay and Silent Bob, they are the saving grace of his entire franchise. I was so happy that he finally gave me what I wanted: A movie just about these two funny as hell nitwits.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: An old one, but one of my all-time favorites passed down from my dad and his buddies. It's both stupidly silly, sometimes obscure, but with enough wit and medieval accuracy to pull it off. Of course it has shitloads of quotable lines too.

Old School: FRANK THE TANK! FRANK THE TANK! God bless you Will Ferrell.

Pineapple Express: A hilarious action movie about weed made before the bro-mance of Seth Rogan and James Franco almost started a war. Like most of Rogan's work, it's by stoners, for stoners. We also learn that Danny McBride cannot be killed by conventional means.

The Simpsons Movie: For my high school and college years, The Simpsons on Sunday night was like going to church, it was my religion. And like all Simpsons purists, I picked apart the movie after first seeing it. But funny is funny, there is no denying that. You shouldn't over think these things.

Spaceballs: A funny as hell spoof of Star Wars that I remember seeing at the old theater in town when I was a kid. It was great long before I ever smoked a joint and only got funnier as I got older. Some of the other Mel Brooks comedies seem out of date to me in the 21st century, but Spaceballs, just like Star Wars, has become a classic.

Superbad: The teenage party genre never gets old for me, they hit too close to home. Me and my gang were the ones who held some of the craziest high school parties back in the day, so these movies are like a trip down memory lane. That scene when McLovin shows off  his fake ID for the first time is funny as hell.

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: I am a disciple of "The D" and if they make a movie and tell me to see it, I will. As a loyal follower of the Greatest Band of All Time I get all the jokes and references. It's also why I don't blame for not getting it, most of it is only funny if you are a fan. However it warms my heart to hear that it have become a cult classic recently.

This Is The End: What do you get when you gather most of Hollywood's young actors and musicians together with a shitload of drugs? The end of the world! If Armageddon is going to be that funny, then what are we waiting for? Oh and Danny McBride is the shit!

Tommy Boy: Oh Chris Farley, we lost you too soon. If you haven't seen it, put it in your queue and learn how concepts and gags have been lifted from this movie. Farley and David Spade had such great comic chemistry that the movie is laugh out loud funny without a shitload of bad language. "Fat guy in a little coat...fat guy in a little coat."

Tropic Thunder: Now here is a movie that grew on me, and I'm so glad it did. It's so funny that I don't even mind that Tom Cruise is in it. In fact Cruise is hilarious in it. But Robert Downey Jr in black-face steals the show. Do yourself a favor and watch some of it with the commentary on - Downey makes good on his character's boast: "I don't break character until I'm done with the DVD commentary." Another movie with some memorable quotes.

Waterboy: Another one of Sandler's early greats and still pretty damn funny. Where would we be in this world today without Rob Schneider's "you can do it!" and Lawrence Taylor's advice "don't smoke crack" (made funnier because he was caught again after the movie)? It's also probably Sandler's last connection to those weird wimpy (bud wicked funny) characters he played on Saturday Night Live.

So there you have it, my list as best as my brain cells can remember between shifts shoveling snow. Hope you enjoyed it and again, add your favorites in the comments!