Daily Archives: May 23, 2010

Coffeehouse observation No. 138

From my perch at empresso, the Miracle Mile coffeehouse I frequent, I can see several laptops open and Facebook on the screen, several other people texting on cellphones, some talking on cellphones, a professorly gentleman wearing suspenders and smoking a pipe, several people reading books – yes, books – a group chatting, and a fellow strumming a guitar. It’s a coffeehouse, all right.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 137

Surprising how busy the coffeehouse has been all day. Lines for beverages, hot and cold, and the weather is sunny and bright outside. Granted, it is a bit windy, but quite nice.

Go to Coffeehouse Observer for more coffeehouse observations.

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Looking back at ‘Emerald Kingdom invades’

Looking back at ‘Emerald Kingdom invades’

http://coffeehouseobserver.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/looking-back-at-%e2%80%98emerald-kingdom-invades%e2%80%99/

Fishway opening, chestnut planting key moments for central Maine ecology | Bangor Daily News

Fishway opening, chestnut planting key moments for local ecology – Bangor Daily News.

Mainer joins elite crew of Medal for Valor recipient | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Mainer joins elite crew of Medal for Valor recipient | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME.

Restoration raises hope for future of Maine native – and ancient – fish | Maine Sunday Telegram

[For some reason, I do not recall ever hearing about this fish when I was growing up in Aroostook County. It is wonderful that this restoration project is taking place. – KM]

TOWNSHIP 8, RANGE 10, WELS — To get from Big Reed Pond to Frenchville at the far northern tip of Maine requires a float plane trip to Munsungan Lake and from there a two-hour drive, most of that on logging roads.

It is a journey that state fisheries biologist Frank Frost has made on a regular basis for three years in an effort to restore one of Maine’s most uncommon species, the Arctic char. Until recently, Frost made the disjointed trek seemingly in vain.

Now the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist and several locals in the St. John Valley are celebrating the restoration of the char, northern Maine’s unique, threatened and much-loved game fish.

To say the Arctic char is native to Maine is an understatement.

The population in Big Reed Pond is one of the few that remain in North America since the last glacier retreated more than 10,000 years ago. It is one of 14 Arctic char populations in Maine and the only population in the lower 48 states.

Several years ago, however, rainbow smelt were illegally introduced into Big Reed Pond and decimated char numbers there.

Where fly fishermen once camped at the remote pond full of the brilliant orange char, the famous fishery now attracts none.

Then, three years ago, Frost began an ambitious project in hopes of restoring the wild Arctic char at Big Reed.

Click on the link for the rest of the story, photos and video by Deirdre Fleming in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram.

Whoopie for whoopie pies, that great New England treat

 
Whoopieeee! A recent discovery at Trader Joe's leads to tasty Maine treat.
Whoopieeee! A recent discovery at Trader Joe’s leads to tasty Maine treat.

I’m in a whoopie pie-induced buzz just now! And I LIKE it!  

Two things contributed to this feeling:  

1) I just found out that the Trader Joe’s nearby sells what it calls Whoopee Pies – and they are nearly as good as Mom made;  

2) I just stumbled across www.whoopiepie.org, which includes historical information, recipes, and even video!  

Whoopieeeeeeeee!  

For those of you who have never had a whoopie pie, I am sorry. Sooo, very sorry, because whoopie pies are wicked good. You missed out on a deliciously sweet treat – usually two soft, cake-like cookies with a creamy white filling. Yes, a sugar rush of the grandest kind.  

Of course, there are variations on the combination. I’ve had whoopie pies with pumpkin cookies, oatmeal cookies, and even chocolate chip cookies. And the fillings can be peanut butter or maple, too.  

The Trader Joe’s Whoopee Pies were the basic chocolate cookies and white filling.  

Whoopie pies are most definitely a Maine and New England tradition, and there’s even a small whoopie pie industry thriving in New England. Small bakeries ship whoopie pies all over.  

This is from www.whoopiepie.org:  

Whoopie pies are considered a New England phenomenon and a Pennsylvania Amish tradition. They’re one of Maine’s best known and favorite comfort foods. People living in Maine often claim that they were weaned on whoopie pies. These treats are more like a cake than a pie, as they are generously sized to be about the side of a hamburger patty. To eat a whoopie pie properly, you need a glass of milk.  

A whoopie pie is like a sandwich, but made with two soft cookies with a fluffy white filling. Traditional whoopies pies are made with vegetable shortening, not butter. The original and most commonly made whoopie pie is chocolate. but cooks like to experiment, and today pumpkin whoopie pies are a favorite seasonal variation.  

The Pennsylvania Amish may get credit for developing the dessert, but I don’t know about that. It’lls always be a Maine delight to me. The whoopie pie history on www.whoopiepie.org indicates that the treat was made with leftover batter and that the Amish children would yell “Whoopie!” when they found the dessert in their school lunches.  

I pretty much did the same thing in past years when my family has shipped whoopie pies for Christmas.  

So, I had to take some of Trader Joe’s Whoopee Pies home yesterday and give them a taste test. Frankly, I seriously thought I would be disappointed, but I was not. The cookie was moist and fudgy and the filling sweet. I can confidently endorse Trader Joe’s Whoopee Pies as being, well, very close to the real thing.  

As the photos prove, I finished off one. The photos do not show that I also finished off a second whoopie pie.
The website warns that eating whoopie pies requires a tall glass of milk. In most cases that is true. But red wine also works.  

Trader Joe's Whoopee Pies are home and on my kitchen counter. I can hardly wait ... so I didn't. Container is open and the plate is at the ready.

On the plate. It won't be long now.

One bite down ...

Hmm, another bite. It's not bad at all.

I'm busy! Don't bother me when I'm with my whoopie pie!

Good to the last bite.

Nothing but crumbs.

See? Nothing but crumbs. Time for a second whoopie pie.

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