Marion Owen Alaska

"A Life at Sea": My little photo essay in Alaska Magazine

Whew. Every summer, life in Kodiak, Alaska ramps up: My husband Marty and I run an oceanfront B&B and host about 100 tours on our boat in the form of wildlife viewing/photo trips. As the chief cook and bottle washer, I have

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From whales to plants, mid-summer feeding is a must

After shutting down the boat engine we leaned against the railing to watch two humpback whales feed close to the surface. Winding slowly through the kelp bed, they created small whirlpools with their pectoral fins and tails, like a

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Libby’s Story: Fighting Cancer with Food (and a sweet recipe for moose nuggets)

When Libby McClaren was diagnosed with cancer, the doctor recommended immediate surgery to remove the tumor from her bladder, followed by chemo and radiation treatments. Libby doesn’t recall how she reacted but she needed quiet time.

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In praise of: Oranges (but not that frozen stuff)

Growing up in the rainy Pacific Northwest, winters were gray and summers couldn’t come fast enough. But tagging along with Mom to the grocery store provided some relief. Wheeling the cart along the bins of colorful fruits and veggies, she’d stop and motion for me to pick out an orange.

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Northern Lights Pumpkin Pie: A new twist to a classic recipe

It’s almost Thanksgiving and your assignment is to bring dessert. Eee-gads, what can you create that’s different, but something that even cranky Uncle Ralph will like? Allow me to share my favorite holiday pie recipe: Northern Lights Pumpkin Pie.

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How to bake love: A photo essay

Perhaps more than anything, LIFE magazine and National Geographic influenced my love for photography. Even before I could read the captions, I found the stand-alone images mesmerizing. The black-and-white

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This fudge cake recipe disguises three veggies

Okay, this photo of cake batter might look scary and unappetizing, but trust me, the finished product makes the best fudge cake that’s ever tiptoed across your tastebuds.

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Get in the pink with rhubarb pickles

Just when you think you’ve tried all the rhubarb recipes on the planet, then comes…
Rhubarb pickles
It’s a blast to play with new recipes. Oh, sure, you can find rhubarb pickle recipes on the web, but I found most of them to be impractical, with silly ingredients and silly instructions. My motto is to keep it simple, tasty, healthy and quick, which I tried to accomplish in my last recipe, First Rhubarb: My excuse to dream up a new recipe where I make rhubarb muffins, starting with a homemade, multi-purpose, whole wheat muffin mix.

Rhubarb pickles
There’s life beyond rhubarb pie. (Marion Owen photo)

Back to the pickles > We put up many quart jars of rhubarb pickles and serve them on our Galley Gourmet dinner cruises in Kodiak, Alaska. We top salads and bake fresh salmon stuffed with the sweet and sour chunks. Guests are pretty surprised at the idea of eating pickled “pie fruit.”
Either way you serve ’em, rhubarb pickles are not only rosy-pink beautiful, they’re inspiring, prodding you to try new things. Once you get your creative [pickled] juices flowing, you’ll discover all kinds of ways to add them to dishes. They’re a pickle lover’s pickle, and you can re-use the liquid, too.
Here’s the recipe. Please share, experiment, and let me know what you think. I bet they’d be great sliced thin and packed on a hamburger! (Any takers?)

Rhubarb Pickles

2 cups vinegar (cider or white)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pickling spices
1 piece (1-1/2 inch) fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Peel from 1 orange
3 cups fresh rhubarb, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
In a non-aluminum medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pickling spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Slice orange peel into strips and add with ginger to the pan. Cool liquid cool to room temp. Spoon rhubarb into glass jar(s). Ladle in the cooled brine mixture. Cover and refrigerate pickles for one week before eating. They will keep refrigerated for several months.

How to eat a rhubarb pickle

Let the fun begin! You can add dices and slivers to coleslaws, fruit salads and tossed greens; soups, stews and tuna salad. Slice them up for sandwiches and decorate your favorite chicken and seafood dishes (pack a salmon with sliced pickles before baking or grilling). When all the pickled bits are gone, use the leftover vinegar for an awesome salad dressing base.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy!

Kodiak, Alaska garden
The Alaska Marine Highway’s ocean-going ferry, the Tustumena passes by our garden in early June–rhubarb harvest time.
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First Rhubarb: My excuse to dream up a new recipe

In coastal Alaska, it’s traditional to celebrate the season’s First Salmon, usually around May 15. Well, we live in coastal Alaska (and love salmon), but we celebrate another  “first”: The First Rhubarb.

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