In 2002, after many arrests, I became well-known across the nation for my alleged gingersnap trafficking crimes. Infamous, really. However, when the public became aware of this heinous baking act, they had questions for me—lots of questions.
I was just one girl; I couldn’t answer everybody’s questions and still have time to eat, shower, breathe, etc. So, I decided to reach out and tell everyone everything I knew, all at once. This led me to produce a cooking show for DVD, which was the highest technology at that time.
I begged my friend Marcus Rogers, from Cinestir Films, to shoot and edit. I had worked with Marcus some years prior, when acting in his movie The Widower. People were still pretty nervous about getting targeted for pot by the police at this time, so I was happy to find a willing participant in Marcus.
I was then introduced to a Los Angeles distributor named Stuart Shapiro. I was given his number by a successful Hollywood manager for comics named Rick Messina. Mr. Messina thought I was sort of funny and occasionally enjoyed smoking weed with me.
So, I called Mr. Shapiro, we met for drinks, and I shared with him what I was setting out to do. He loved the idea. So much so, he and his wife flew to Vancouver to watch the filming. After a good long edit, the Shapiros returned and got US distribution for the show. High Times then offered to lend us their name gratis to help give it some clout.
This first video production, High Times Presents Watermelon’s Baked N Baking, was very theatrical, complete with a “ta da” girl and a live reefer jazz band. After all, I had done only stand-up comedy or live theater—mostly in the vaudeville vein—up until then. The film was rented out at Rogers Video for many years before they closed all their doors in 2012. (Fear not, you can still rent it at Black Dog on Commercial Drive in Vancouver B.C. Plus, I just googled it and found six for sale on Amazon.)
Fast forward six more years and the magical, new universe called the internet exploded. In 2008, I assembled another team and started producing Baking A Fool of Myself. In particular, I enlisted the help of Tom Davidson, a 40-year veteran in film, television, and documentary. Mr. Davidson still shoots and/or directs most of my material.
Baking A Fool of Myself was available in three formats: on my now defunct website, bakingafoolofmyself.com, DVD, and YouTube (where you can still find them under my user name, Water Melon).
Next, in 2015, I collaborated with New York’s Jerrick Media and Vancouver’s Lady Pants to produce Baked, a new cooking series for potent.media.com. The series is still available online, and I believe they are selling a Kindle cookbook to accompany it.
Looking forward, I am excited to say I have a groundbreaking new project coming your way in 2018: Infused. A pilot project for Script 9 Productions, Infused will explore new products, techniques, ratios, and strains. It will turn your thoughts around on what you might create with marijuana. We will do our best to make it happen!
Fried! Fried! Chicken!
Elizabeth Ryan owns and operates Dock Lunch (@docklunch), a day-only restaurant that serves up two or three dishes each day. After devouring lunch there one fine day with my lover, I begged Elizabeth to collaborate with me on a dish. A dish so divine, so crispy, so stone-y, so crunchy, so home-cooking, it’s what the world needs now: Fried! Fried! Chicken!
Elizabeth assures us the secrets all in the brine and dredge. Oh, and the lard. Don’t be fooled by the lack-luster frying promises of coconut oil or peanut oil; good old-fashioned lard is what is needed.
(Elizabeth also went beyond the call and whipped up biscuits in a New York second, but I will save that recipe for another column.)
- 1 fresh whole chicken, washed, dried, and chopped into desired pieces
- Buttermilk (enough to submerge the chicken)
- 1 lemon
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 3 chilies, partially crushed
- 3 cloves of garlic, partially crushed
- A few stems of fresh/dried dill and thyme
- 2-3 cups flour
- 2 tbsp shake flour
- ½ tbsp garlic powder
- ½ tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp pepper
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tbsp paprika
- ½ tbsp salt
- 3+ 450-g blocks of lard
- 2 tbsp shake flour, or enough cannabis-infused oil for equivalent potency
- Make brine.
- Soak chicken in the brine for several hours, overnight if possible.
- Mix dredge ingredients in a shallow bowl or casserole dish. One at a time, dredge each piece of chicken, making sure they are evenly coated on all sides. Place chicken on a wire rack and let the pieces rest for 10 minutes, allowing the dredge to become one with the chicken.
- Melt the lard in a large cast iron fry pan or Dutch oven. The oil should get about three to four inches deep.
- Heat the oil to 350˚F (180˚C). This is the ideal temperature for frying. If your temperature is too low, the chicken skin will go white and never turn golden brown. If it is too hot, it will burn before it can cook all the way through. Also, keep in mind that the lard will cool down with each piece of chicken you add, so you’ll want to make sure the temperature stays up.
- Add the dredged pieces of chicken one at a time, making sure to not overcrowd the pan. Do more than one batch if you have to. Turn each piece once or twice in the boiling lard. Allow 10-12 minutes per side, depending on their size. It’s done when the chicken has beautifully golden brown skin and an internal temperature of 180˚F (85˚C).
- Remove chicken from the oil and place on a wire rack. You can also bake the pieces in the oven at 350˚F (180˚C) for a bit if you need to keep them hot or want to ensure its cooked all the way through.