In January, Action Bronson announced a new cookbook. Or rather, in January, Action Bronson announced a new cookbook filled with things to make and consume while high as hell. Titled Stoned Beyond Belief, the recipes included all serve one primary agenda: satisfying the munchies.
As something of a sativa savant, Bronson knows his shit when it comes to marijuana. Alongside the recipes sit pages and pages of poetry dedicated to weed; not actual poetry, but considering the manner in which he waxes lyrical on the drug it may as well be. From tips on how to hide your stash and listing its medical benefits to the joys of bad weed (a.k.a how to appreciate the good stuff) to providing a guide on what to watch when baked, Stoned Beyond Belief is actually more of a lifestyle manual than a simple cookbook.
Naturally, we had to get involved.
Keeping your presumed mental state in mind, most of the recipes featured are very easy to prepare. They're also relatively low cost (all the dishes listed cost a total of 55 Euros — approximately $60) and, it should go without saying, are pretty filthy. But in a good way. Enjoy!
Quesadilla with Crispy Cheese
Ingredients: Makes 1 quesadilla: 2 10-inch (25-cm) flour tortillas // 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) grated mozzarella cheese // 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) grated Cheddar cheese // hot sauce // 2 tablespoons thinly sliced jalapeño chili, fresh or pickled
Bronson describes this as the ultimate stoner food, so of course this was first on the list. He also says it takes 10-minutes to make, so even if you're so blazed you can barely see, it's not a mammoth effort.
Method: Heat a medium sized skillet and place one quesadilla in the pan. Pile the cheese in the middle like a mound (so it doesn't all ooze out when it starts to melt), drop 4-6 drop of hot sauce over the cheese, and sprinkle the jalapeños. Add the second tortilla and press down so the filling forms a kind of cheese glue, and once the base has browned, flip it. When both sides have cooked, transfer to a board, let it rest for a second, and then slice it up.
Score: 5/5. It's hard to go wrong with a cheese filled quesadilla situation, and this is satisfying, gooey, and not as heavy as expected. That is, of course, unless you make a ton, stack them, and then eat the lot in five minutes, like I did. For those curious, I opted for a habanero and tomatillo hot sauce from Berlin-based brand, Crazy Bastard Sauce.
Ingredients: Makes 2–3 pizzas: 1 28-ounce (794-g) can plum or San Marzano tomatoes // Extra virgin olive oil // Kosher salt to taste // 1 small handful fresh basil leaves // 1 13.8-ounce (391-g) tube pre-made pizza crust // 8 ounces (1 cup/226 g) stracciatella or burrata or mozzarella // 1 cup (124 g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Before you make this, Bronson instructs, you must — "I mean must" — watch Sophia Loren whipping up fried pizza in 1954 Italian movie, L’oro di Napoli. So I did, and then naturally channelled her vibe as I chucked the pizza dough in a barrel of oil. Watch below if you want to hone a similar aesthetic.
Method: In a mixing bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands and stir in 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of the olive oil, salt to taste, and the basil. Don't stress if the basil wilts, it adds to the overall flavor. Take a wide, deep skillet and pour in two inches of oil. As that heats, roll out your dough on a clean surface and cut into four even rectangular pieces.
When the oil is hot enough, submerge the dough one piece at a time, flipping when it turns golden brown — this takes a minute or so, so keep a close watch. Remove the dough, place on a board, and top with the tomato mixture, cheese, and grate parmesan over the top. Repeat for each piece.
Score: 4/5. Well done Bronson, is all I have to say. Not only was this delicious and extremely easy, but I didn't feel my arteries seizing up as I shoveled the slices into my face, which is pretty much all I expected. I could only find mozzarella, but I'd definitely recommend taking the extra time to locate stracciatella to fully level this up.
Wagyu A5 Steak (and Bao Buns)
Ingredients: Makes 4 bao: 1 (1 pound/455 g) boneless ribeye steak // Kosher salt // Olive oil // 4 warm steamed folded Chinese bao (which you can find refrigerated or frozen in Asian markets) // 1small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced // 1 jalapeño chile, thinly sliced // 4 small sprigs cilantro, thick stems removed // 2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts // 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Unlike Mr Bronson, I do not have a bunch of Wagyu A5 steak lying around my apartment after spending $1,000 on meat for my dog. I'm assuming you don't, either. And while this is tragic life fact for both you and I, I went ahead and made it with rib eye instead, which is still juicy and does not set you back at $120 per pound.
Method: Prep the bao buns per the packet instructions. My local store didn't have pre-made buns but they did have a flour mix, which involved adding water and yeast. As you can see, this experiment resulted in a flat, lump-ridden disaster, and they swiftly became bin-baos. Luckily, the filling tastes good solo.
Anyway, heat a skillet until its smoking hot. Season the steak generously on both sides with salt and oil, and then press it onto the skillet. Let it cook on either side for two minutes on the first side and then flip and cook for four minutes on the other side. (Bronson said three-four minutes each side but I prefer mine on the rarer side). Transfer to a board and let rest for 10 minutes minimum.
To serve, slice the steak and open your bao buns. Fill each bun with a few slices of steak, sliced cucumber, jalapeños, cilantro, salt, peanuts, and toasted sesame seeds.
Score: 3/5. I won't deduct points for the bao fail as that's not his fault. He did lose some for the lack of sauce — it benefits from hot sauce (what doesn't?), which I added; you could also use hoi sin or plum — but overall it was pretty tasty and would eat again.
My Mom’s Cheesecake with Extra Crust and Homemade Jam
Ingredients: Makes 1 9-inch (23-cm) cheesecake // 1 stick (4 ounce/113 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing the pan // 2 sleeves graham crackers // 2 1⁄4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar, divided // 3 8-ounce (226-g) packages Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature // 1⁄2 cup (115 g) sour cream // 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice // 1 tablespoon vanilla extract // 4 large eggs
"This is The Cheesecake. Mama's Cheesecake. People would just order them from her, and she would charge them $30. Which is, I think, not enough. I really haven’t tasted one better than this recipe, a result of years of tinkering by my mother."
Alright Bronson, that's an extremely bold claim. Let's see if it lives up to the hype.
Method: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan with butter and set it aside. Take a mixing bowl and crush the crackers with the butter and 1/4 cup (52g) of sugar, combine, and pat into the baking pan until it forms a flat base. Don't worry if the sides are messy. Bake for 10 minutes, and then leave out to cool completely.
In a clean bowl, take the remaining sugar and mix it with the cream cheese until it's super soft. Slowly add sour cream, lime juice, and vanilla, and blend. Then beat in one egg at a time. Add to your now cool crust base and bake for 40 minutes. Remove and leave to stand for at least half an hour. Serve with the topping of your choice — Bronson suggests jam, whipped cream, or olive oil.
Score: 5/5. I'm not going to lie, this is one of the best cheesecakes I've ever had, let alone made myself. I'm not a great baker, but honestly on trying this you'd think I'd been "tinkering," cake-wise, for as long as his mother. I topped with jam, which was a bit too sweet, but regardless: hype achieved.
Overall conclusion: If you're looking to spend your life swimming in butter and oil while stoned beyond belief, this menu delivers. Although, for obvious reasons, if you're going to start fucking around with deep fried pizza dough, get it sorted pre-blaze. Inches of boiling hot oil and a drug-induced squint does not a calm combo make.
Action Bronson’s $27.50 hardcover Stoned Beyond Belief hits shelves on March 19. Buy it here.