Marion Owen Alaska

Marion’s 2019 calendar: Coming in October

You’re on the go with lots to do… Wait a moment. What if we had soft reminders that there’s more to life than do, do, do? That’s why I graced this year’s calendar cover with a special photo from our garden: A Tibetan blue poppy

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Goodness gracious great balls of chocolate!

For health reasons, Marty and I recently adopted a plant-based diet, a personal story I share in this post. No more animal protein (meat, dairy, eggs) or processed oils. Suddenly the cookbooks I’d consulted for 40 years were no longer

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Got the sniffles? A sore throat? Try oregano-garlic tea

In Kodiak, Alaska, with winter breathing down our necks, there’s a lot to do. In the garden, it’s time to pick and put up mega-crops like potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes. They’re pantry fillers for sure. And while a home-grown onion is a beautiful thing,

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

Whew. Life in Kodiak, Alaska ramps up every summer: My husband Marty and I run an oceanfront B&B and host about 120 tours on our boat in the form of wildlife viewing/photo trips and gourmet dinner cruises. As the chief cook and bottle washer, I have

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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 sequential and stand-alone images mesmerizing. The black-and-white photographs, whether published by themselves or in a series to illustrate an article, were story photos that taught me volumes about powerful compositions.
This series of four simple images was taken while my brother Henry made bread during a rare gathering of us siblings. His stage: The granite topped “island” in my sister’s kitchen.

You gotta feel it

“Making French bread is not about the ingredients,” he said. “That’s just flour, salt, water and yeast. It’s the feel of the dough.”

I got it.

Years ago, I worked on a research ship which employed a baker, Ralph Naughton, as part of the galley crew. “How do you know how much flour to knead into the dough?” I asked during a midnight to 4 AM shift. Ralph a quiet man who lost an eye during a bar fight somewhere in Alaska, reached over to the giant bowl sitting in a warm spot near the galley oven and pinched a little dough between his thumb and forefinger. Then he reached up with his other hand and grabbed his ear lobe and gave it a squeeze.
“That’s how you know,” he said, smiling with his eyes.
Henry spun the ball of dough and pulled it over on itself as if performing a dough-ball. I could almost hear the melody. “Many recipes say to add flour until the dough can’t take any more,” he said. “But that makes for a dry, stiff bread.”
Lifting the ball of dough in his hand, he shared a tip I’d never come across. “The dough should sag a little between your fingers.”
Bread, French, how to make bread, knead, kneading, baking, flour, homemade, baguette

The proof is in the proofing

After proofing the dough and punching it down (no magic amount of time here; we simply went for a walk), he pinched–not cut–the dough into four blobs.
Bread, French, how to make bread, knead, kneading, baking, flour, homemade, baguette

Blobs are beautiful

Then he took each blob and shaped it into a lumpy, artsy loaf, rolled it in cornmeal and gently settled it into baguette pans, like a mother would lay a baby into its blanket-lined crib.
“Let it rise a bit, then bake it in a 400 or 450-degree oven for 30 or 40 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf, humidity, or crunch factor you’re looking for.”
Me, I’m looking for a platform for butter!
Bread, French, how to make bread, knead, kneading, baking, flour, homemade, baguette
My brother Henry is a civil engineer; not a professional baker. He lives in Spokane, Washington. I live in Kodiak, Alaska. We see each other oh, once or twice a year. He makes bread as a hobby and a gift. It’s a way of saying, “I love you. It’s good to see you.”
Thank you for stopping by. That’s a gift, too.

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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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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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Building a better waffle: Healthy, cheap and gluten free

I love waffles, but I don’t like the heavy feeling they leave in my gut.  Then I ate a waffle that changed my attitude, for good…

On a gray Sunday morning in Kodiak, Alaska, I sauntered into

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