Wild Things Round Up - All Heart

This month, I set out a little challenge in honor of the month of love.  In February, Wild Things was "all heart," featuring posts about plants and animals that are good for the heart, aphrodisiacs, and even actual heart recipes.

I think you'll be tickled to see the recipes that were submitted this month.  Enjoy.


Tim Furst shared his thoughts about how best to prepare freshly harvested oysters.

High school marine science camp in October is wet & chilly stuff.  Wearing
hip waders while wading through the chest high water of Virginia's
Chincoteague Bay is even wetter & chillier so I was the first one to
scramble to the relative comfort of the exposed oyster reef.  Next on the
mound of living shells was a classmate in a wetsuit who wasted no time in
using his SCUBA knife to wrest an oyster off the reef & lever it open.  I
had experienced raw oysters before but, standing in the grey mist on that
oyster bed as the tide ebbed, first tasting the briny tang of the invisible
salt slick & then the rich smooth sweetness of the cool flesh, was as
pleasant & primordial as any culinary experience before or since.

Today I am the lone holdout - I live in Maryland's Catoctin Mountains while
the rest of my family have all moved to the Delmarva Peninsula.  There on
the Eastern Shore, "double dip" does not refer to an ice cream cone but to
the method of dipping oysters into a buttermilk/egg mixture & then into a
seasoned cornmeal mixture.  Then the whole process is repeated  - double
dipped - before dropping the bivalves into hot oil to deep fry just until
the batter is crisp but before the plump oyster loses its moist metallic

But - except as a special request from special people - I rarely fry
oysters.  I rarely broil them with Pernod & chopped spinach, I rarely add
them to reduced heavy cream & diced Cajun tasso, I rarely even poach them
just until the delicate gills curl in their own liquor, cream & butter to
make oyster stew.

No - usually if I cook freshly tonged oysters at all, I put them on a grill
- cupped shell down to save the precious juice - until they are almost
ready to pop open.  They should need just a slight coaxing at the hinge
from an oyster knife & be warm but still engorged - it is OK if you wait
until they just begin to open.  Mostly I just cut the muscle and slurp the
delicious meat directly from the shell - and mostly I do that to a raw
oyster. It takes some practice - and usually a little blood - to learn to
shuck the mollusks from their sharp stubborn shells but it is a skill that
will get you invited to the right parties.  As far as embellishing oysters,
I don't go far from tradition - just a quick squeeze of lemon or a peppery
mignonette.  One day I might try a few grains of tart sumac berries on an
oyster instead of lemon, I know it would look beautiful.

Sauce Mignonette

1/2 cup good vinegar, use your good stuff here, nothing too heavy though
1 small shallot, finely minced  - I have used wild onions with great success
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper - fussy people sometimes use
white but I like black & fussy people probably aren't reading "Hunger and
Maybe a pinch of salt if the oysters aren't very saline
Just combine everything & let sit an hour or so to meld the flavors, use
your tiniest spoon to just moisten your oysters on the half shell.

I don't know if just shucked oysters are an aphrodisiac as legend suggests,
but they do make people happy.  Sometimes, when people get happy
together... well, you know...


The Diva at Wildcraft Vita has shared her recipe for Hawthorn Berry Liqueur, which has the intriguing addition of almonds. She's also shared a really delicious recipe for Shepherd's Purse Butter/Sauce. And, hello!, can I just say that her picture of shepherd's purse is one of the prettiest herbal pics I've ever seen.


In honor of heart month, Wild Food Girl has shared several pink recipes, including Prickly Pear and Grapefruit Syrup, Sauerkraut Nachos, and Striped Bass Pinkened by Sumac.


Herbalist Darcey Blue, who has a talent for making tea blends, has shared several of her favorite heart brews including Sweet Heart Tea, Fae Fires Haw Brew, and Heart Song Tea.


Who's ready for a sweets break? You know Cauldrons and Crockpots has some of the sweets recipes around. Think I'm wrong? Have a look at her Hawthorn and Rose Turkish Delights.


Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, Hank Shaw, knows just how to cook game heart.  Even if you're new to heart meat, I think you'll enjoy Grilled Deer Heart with Peppers. I swear, it's just a lovely piece of muscle, a nice steak!


Herbalist Rosalee de la Foret has shared her excellent monograph about hawthorn, as well as a recipe for Chocolate Syrup with Elderberries and Rose Hips.


I love to collect wild asparagus with my buddy from Laughing Lemon Pie, which is why I'm delighted that she thought to submit her recipe for Spaghetti Carbonara with Wild Asparagus, and Gluten-Free Gnocchi with Asparagus and Mushroom Cream.


Leave it to a farmer to figure out how to make the best of a plant that is more of a nuisance than delight. Have a look at what they do with hawthorn berries at Auburn Meadow Farm.

If you're a chili-head like me, then I think you'll like my Hawthorn Guajillo Chile Sauce.


Rose hips work really beautifully with meat, believe it or not. This is my recipe for Pork with Rose Hip Sweet and Sour Sauce.


My recipe for Rose Hip Gelee was inspired by traditional quince membrillo.


As you can see from my third rose hip recipe, I really enjoy the fruit of the rose.  I even used it to make a fiery sauce for shrimp in Shrimp with Spicy Rose Hip Cashew Sauce.


I'd like to thank all of the contributors for continuing to inspire each month with their wild creations.  See you next month y'all!


  1. Wowowow! What a fantastic roundup, Butter... thank you so much for doing this. xoxoxo

  2. Some of these are so unexpected. Well done.

  3. I so wish I would get brave enough to think up a recipe and try entering one of these months. But in the mean time I'm super duper excited every month to see what everyone else does. It is just fascinating to me to see the variety of recipes that are included, and from an interesting group of people. I feel like I want to sit around a nice fire and talk with every one of them. And eat! Of course, eat! LOL

    1. Wild Things is all about helping you make that leap into preparing and eating wild foods. I can't wait to see your first entry!

  4. Woops! Sorry - I didn't realize this week was the last of February! My hawthorne post was pretty uninspiring anyway compared to HAWTHORNE & ROSE TURKISH DELIGHTS!!

    Awesome post!

  5. Thanks for the round-up, B, and including me even though I cheated by just making pink recipes, ha ha. Well, I am very inspired to start cooking with hawthorn. I'm excited about your rosehip cashew sauce, and the Turkish delights look amazing.

  6. Also, I think this quote is a good candidate for your "testimonials" page, should you choose to add one:

    "...fussy people probably aren't reading 'Hunger and Thirst.'"

  7. These rosehip recipes are amazing. And we could still find roses right now, right? Or are those not useable?

    1. Oh yes, rose hips are still perfectly good to eat. They retain quite a bit of flavor, even when dried and overwintered on the plant.

  8. Thanks for including me Butter. I love your wild round up challenges. Trees are a bit more tricky though....

    1. I agree. Tree month may be the most challenging month so far. But it could potentially be the most exciting round up, too!

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