So this is going to be the last post of maker month this year.  June went by really quickly.  Although not everything went exactly as I planned, I feel like I got a lot of good results.  Overall I feel l like I had fun.  I do kinda wish that I had made at least one post everyday, but I am glad to have spent my time with family and friends.

And although it is corny and cliche, I feel like making memories should count toward maker month to a certain extent.  I look forward to next month, where I hope to be able to share some posts with you from Vegas, Paris, and Amsterdam.

Stay tuned.

Having made a surprising amount of progress on the functionality of our iOS fashion application, we needed to make some progress on product, and look and feel.  This is not my field of expertise, but I learn more about it everyday.  A lot of this process is going to be driven by Julia and her sister.

The first drafts of the icon are pictured here, the work of Jaime.  I am looking forward to the button sets.  I checked in at el ay si today for brunch and noticed that foursquare has an official icon for ‘soul or southern food’ which succinctly represents chicken and waffles.  That is the sort of simple yet effective design I hope that we are able to achieve.

On bottling beer.  Also this month we bottled up the Racer 5 clone that we brewed at the beginning of the month.  As I write this I am having one and I have to say that I am pleased with it.  When my brother in law was visiting we sampled some stuff that I had made in previous months, and I was not so proud of it.  I was worried that I had lost my beer mojo.

I have come to think that the main problem that I had was that I got sloppy.  This time I paid closer attention to cleanliness and temperature control to avoid tart fruity aftertastes caused by bacteria.  That said it is difficult to maintain proper fermentation temperatures in a NY apartment in the heat of the summer.

Check the gravity of your beer to make sure that it has fermented.  Ours was about 1.09, which is a touch sweet but well within bottling range.  Now boil about 6-10 cups of water with about 6oz of bottling sugar.

Sanitize a bottling bucket, syphon, bottling wand, and enough bottles to hold all of your beer.  The brass doohickey pictured is a bottle and carboy washer that makes this a lot easier for not much money.

Pour the boiled sugar water into the sanitary bottling bucket.  Now syphon the beer from the fermenting container into the bottling bucket.  I like to place the carboy on a high surface when I start to allow plenty of time for the yeast to settle.  Try not to suck up much yeast when transferring the beer.

Now just put the beer into bottles and cap appropriately.  I use a mixture of press on and flip style (or Grolsh style) lids.  Again, it is challenging to get the temperature control needed for really great bottle conditioning, but after 5 days, I have some bubbles going here.

The last recipe that I have for now is one for Thai Nachos.  Nachos never really look as good as they are, but as have mentioned before, they go great with Dr Who.  You can make great tortilla chips by making your own tortillas and deep frying them, but we did what everyone does and bought some tostitos this time.

tortilla chips

peanut sauce (again you can make this but we bought a jar)

shredded carrots

shredded cheddar cheese

chopped red onions

siracha (has rooster on label)

chopped tofu (frozen)

soy sauce

pinch sugar


pineapple salsa

Saute the tofu with oil, soy, sugar. Spread chips on a baking sheet, cover with cheese and other ingredients, broil until cheese bubbles and chips brown.  Cover with pineapple salsa.  Eat directly from baking sheet in front of TV due to impatience, serve with beer.

First of all, I have to say, as hard as I try this is not a cheesesteak.  Please visit one of your fine local purveyors of Philadelphia style steak sandwiches and make life easy on yourself. For the hardheaded like me, here is a brief insight to my struggles to replicate some of the great steaks that I have had, including Pat’s, Ginos, The Philly Deli (where I even worked), and an oddly great steak at the Sixer’s game.

chopped onions

thin sliced steak, ribeye preferred

salt and pepper

american cheese

italian bread (not as good par baked sesame roll shown here was a disappointment, I have trouble finding the right bread for this)

saute the onions with salt and pepper in some olive oil and/or some of the fat from your steak. When they become translucent, add the steak and start chopping.  This is really the key, don’t use your nice non stick pan, get out some cast iron and beat on this stuff, really chop it up.  

It helps if you have a steamer or microwave and you can steam the bread.  Now that the beef is ready make it into a sandwich shaped pile and put some cheese on it.  Let the cheese melt.

Last, put the bread over the pile of meat, insert a spatula under the meat and flip it over in one motion.  Although I have made a ton of these there continue to be problems with the ones that I make at home.

Here I ended up using a very rare roast beef because I was unable to get thin sliced ribeye.  This is not a proper substitute.  Also as I mentioned earlier I did not like the bread that I used.  Finally, many people like cheese wiz, and at the deli we would use large double boilers to add water to american cheese, making it pumpable liquid.  I think that this consistency works better than the american cheese slices alone.

At the end of the day I still had a really great sandwich, but not one that I think that I could call a true Philly Chessesteak.  Maybe I should go for pork and broccoli rabe. 

Ok let’s talk hoagies, grinders, subs, sandwiches, wecks, po’boys or whatever they call sammiches around your way.  In particular Julia has come close to recreating the veggie grinder that she enjoys when we are in Wilmington NC at the Philly Deli.

sliced sweet peppers

sliced onions

sliced olives

sliced banana peppers

sliced jalapeño


oil and vinegar

basil oregano salt and pepper

sliced provolone

italian bread

Saute all ingredients other than the cheese and bread in a large skillet.  Split the bread so that it lays flat open faced.  When the veggies are al dente pour the hot mixture onto your loaf of bread spreading evenly.  Cover with the provolone cheese and put into a 350 degree oven on a baking sheet.  Bake until the cheese is bubbly and brown.  Let cool a few minutes then fold over and cut into pieces. 

A while back, my sister in law got a kitchen gadget that made it easier to inject filling into a cupcake.  This is one of the great things about the cupcakes that are sold at places like Crumbs and Magnolia is that they have icing on the inside as well as on top.

The twist here is that the icing on the inside of the cupcake reveals some piece of information.  In this case these cupcakes were made as favors for a ‘gender reveal’ event where proud parents were disclosing the gender of their baby to be via the color of the cupcake filling.

I imagine that this might be a fun way to do a raffle, or other party games, as this has all the great elements, surprise and cupcakes.

SO- First off my apologies for being on hiatus for so long.  I know that I kinda dropped the ball on this whole daily blogging maker month thing.  BUT, I do have a few consolation prizes.

First off, my in laws came to town two weeks in a row.  My wife’s sister, in town perusing bugaboos, did a fun cupcake project that I think is worth it’s own post.  Then her parents came into town for a wedding the next week and we caught ‘Peter and The Starcatcher’ as the second leg of dinner and a show.  It was tons of fun.

We did recreate a couple more NC favorites, and make some progress on our iOS app.  So I will talk about that in a few minutes as well.  So although I did not have the daily updates that I was looking to write in June, I think that we still did some interesting projects, we got out to meet the Mets, and the beer came out wonderful.

I wrote about launchrock over at smalbizgomobile a while back, but now I have had the pleasure to use it to purpose, not just as a demo.  I have to say that this is a really cool and powerful little product.
Putting up a launching soon page is a great way to gauge interest and jump start your install base.  Launchrock makes it easy to set up a coming soon page, complete with google analytics, and social integrations. So click on through to the launch site for our maker month app project.

I wrote about launchrock over at smalbizgomobile a while back, but now I have had the pleasure to use it to purpose, not just as a demo.  I have to say that this is a really cool and powerful little product.

Putting up a launching soon page is a great way to gauge interest and jump start your install base.  Launchrock makes it easy to set up a coming soon page, complete with google analytics, and social integrations. So click on through to the launch site for our maker month app project.

Tonight we tried to recreate one of my favorite non-traditional burritos from Wilmington NC’s famous Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn.  Flaming Amy’s is not what you would call Mexican food- it’s “burritos” only because it’s in a wrapper, but I assure you my friend they are awesome.  This is their menu.  While my favorite item is probably the ‘Bacon Double Cheese Burgerrito’, tonight we recreated ‘The Po Boy’.

First, I fried shrimp just like I did last night.  If I had time, I would have made the tortillas from scratch, but I was rushed so I went with store-bought.  After that, all there was to it was the jalapeño tartar sauce and assembly:

jalapeño tartar sauce:

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 fresh jalapeno

1 T dijon mustard

1 T pickle relish

1/2 T red wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

salt to taste

Remove seeds and pith from jalapeño, and mince finely.  Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Chill for at least 1/2 an hour before serving, to allow flavors to marry.

To assemble:

Turn one stove burner on to medium heat.  When the burner is hot, gently set a tortilla on the hot burner.  When tortilla becomes soft and pliable, remove from heat.  Smear a generous portion of jalapeño tartar sauce on to the tortilla.  Add shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and fried shrimp.  Wrap together, and enjoy.

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