It happens all the time: The post-smoke hunger pangs that lead you to the fridge or the cupboard for something to eat. The usual suspects — high-calorie low-nutrition snack foods — taste good but they aren't the best for you.
We asked some authorities how a smoker can balance the need for something to munch on with good (or at least better) nutrition to make the “Ultimate Stoner Food.”
Chef Betty Fraser, who has appeared on Bravo's “Top Chef” and operates the restaurant Grub in a converted 1920s bungalow in Hollywood, specializes in California comfort food. “It's safe to say we have a pretty good handle on what the "happy" people gravitate towards.”
“It's big flavors. It's a case of hypersensitivity, and the more wow factor to the dish, the more explosions of flavors, that's what people gravitate towards. Stoney food usually encompasses the sweet or the salty, but I think texture has a big part to play as well,” Fraser says. “Of course, like all foods, there is a direct result on the body. Gobble up a bag of Doritos and you're going to be parched, full and your energy will be sapped. Pound a half-dozen donuts and you're going to spike and then crash. So, like most things, timing and moderation is the key to a pleasurable eating experience.”
Fraser recommends a classic grilled cheese sandwich, which she makes with cheddar and Swiss on toasted sourdough bread at Grub. “It's something pretty easy for people to fire up at home. And if you want a little extra zip buy a can of crispy fried onions and sprinkle generously.”
For do-it-yourselfers, Fraser suggests this sweet-and-salty snack: “If you want to blow your friends' minds grab some cookie dough, crush a package of pretzels or potato chips, roll the dough around until it's covered and then bake. Here's a Professional Chef Tip: Turn off the oven when you're done.”
When preparing post-smoke treats, Fraser recommends mixing familiar flavors in new combinations: “For oatmeal, you can add toasted walnuts, caramelized bananas and maple syrup. That will take it over the top. At the restaurant, we put hot wings on macaroni and cheese, but at home you can make a box of commercial macaroni and cheese, you can get a package of pulled barbecued pork and put that on top. It adds flavor and texture, and it‟s really easy. Put salsa on salad or cooked pasta. Popcorn — you can make that in the microwave — instead of salt, put some black pepper and Parmesan cheese on it.
“That's how I think as a chef: first add one ingredient. If that works, add two. People who are stoners like a lot of things going on.”