This time of year brings out the crafter in me. Maybe it’s from years of making homemade Christmas gifts and holiday decorations as a kid that puts me in the mood to create. Whatever it is, I’m not a year-long project person. I’m not even a weeklong project person. One day. A weekend tops. I’d rather be outside. Which is why I dig these two, kid-friendly, super quick-and-easy craft projects, and one multi-step project that fits nicely with my twin loves of cooking and eating. Take a look!
This next one also involves an epic search for just the right piece (actually, we had a truck box full). Fun to find as part of a hike or just an afternoon outdoors. We cleaned our lake driftwood with a brush and dried in a closet with a dehumidifier. There are other prep methods, too, that are more time-consuming, but we aren’t making these to sell, just to enjoy for as long as we like looking at them.
I love the look of driftwood, but I’ve seen nice birch pieces, too. Avoid pine! Too much sap.
If the driftwood needs stabilizing, sand the uneven part, or add furniture pads underneath. You can trim to fit or use the super small felt pad.
So this last is one not complicated, but it does have many short steps along the way. We saved all the throw-away northern for a couple months, filleting and freezing them along the way (I must confess, I didn’t do much of the work in this step). Then it was just a matter of unthawing and getting to it.
Cut 60-70 bit sized pieces and soak for 48 hours in one cup of non-iodized salt.
You can download the recipe here, but in the final phase, you discard the straight-up vinegar, and boil together 1-1/2 cup sugar, 3 cups white vinegar, 4 bay leaves, 1 tsp whole allspice, 3 tsp mustard seed, 1-1/2 tsp whole black pepper, a couple peppers or 6-7 whole chili peppers, then cool to room temp (apparently, this is crucial. warm brine will overcook the fish and make it mushy). Add 2 cups white port wine, 2 large onions, sliced, and fish.
Put in canning jars, close tightly, and let stand in fridge for 8-10 days before eating with crackers. Yumaroo!
Thank you Aaron “Wally” Lingwall for this great recipe.