Thursday, February 13, 2014

Of Low Tides and Wetlands: Cooking Bivalves and a Coot Over the Coals

Freshly foraged mussels and a bow-and-arrow coot simmer over a wood fire
After bottling up our hard apple cider Alex, Jesse and I headed out to the coast for our annual little low tide foraging and open fire feast. We found that our go-to spot was teaming with mussels as usual, and in a matter of 20 minutes we had plenty to go around.
 Alex with an "I'm Crazy!" look on his face as he harvests mussels with Jesse.

There were plenty to go around
Settling in at Coyote Ridge we got a coyote brush fire going in no time with a fire-steel and some thistle down for kindling. Then, Alex cut a few pieces while I whittled them down and we constructed a spit for the coot I had taken with a stone pointed arrow the day before. The bird had been marinating all night in Indian spices and it smelled great as it began to cook over the coals. We also sauteed up the last of the mushrooms we had gathered the week before, grilled the mussels for an abundant and delicious appetizer, and Jesse made some exquisite roti (Indian flat bread) over the open flames. Then, we ate to our heart’s content.
 The Mussels were delicious!
Smiles all around!

The setting sun gave way to an astounding star lit sky and a chorus of coyotes calling all around in the distance. “Coyote Ridge!” Alex said with a smile. We spent the next few hours sitting around the fire talking of past foraging fun, the current drought, future forays, and everything in between. It was a heck of a good Saturday night!

Coyote brush cooking fire at coyote ride
The next day I cooked up the rest of the mussels I had gathered into a truly exquisite chowder using herbs I foraged as well! Wow, it was good!
 Mussels ready to boil
 Foraged fennel, bay leaf, and rosemary
Unbeatable chowder! 
A few days later I got a second coot from my kayak with stone-tipped arrows. That was an awesome trip as well! I also got to watch a bobcat leap from a ledge out into the water in an attempt to pounce on a coot of his own. He missed, but it was still great to see. I cooked the bird I shot in a coot tikka masala…not too bad at all!

Coot tikka good!
Keep the old ways alive!



  1. Man, that chowder looks so good. Looks like ur turning into an awesome cook Kevin. Your foraging stories are making me question my surroundings and shifting my viewpoint in nature, thanks.

  2. Thanks Ruth. It was very good...but some clams would have made it unbeatable! That being said, we were content with our grub and enjoyed guacamole for weeks after from out foraged avocados.
    Reevaluating your surroundings huh? Where are you located? There must be some forgeable goodies to be had near you!