The Andrew Drane Blog

February 27, 2010

Clams with vermouth, dill, shallots. Super easy!

Filed under: Food — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 10:33 am

I picked up these Maine harvested wild mahogany clams last night. Here is my super simple recipe - don’t get too caught up on proportions, I never measure these out precisely, so adjust for your cooking pot, the size of the clams etc. I’ll give my best guess as to what I used in this recipe!

Maine mahogany clams, cooked in vermouth.

Maine mahogany clams, cooked in vermouth.

  • 2 Pounds of clams
  • 1 cup vermouth
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ~ 3 TBS fresh dill
  • ~ 2 TBS olive oil

Get your 2 pound bag of clams and rinse them off. You can also leave the clams in water for a few minutes to clean them further (they will ’spit out’ sand if there is any in the shells). They should be tightly closed! Do not use any clams that are not tightly closed!!! Remember, these are fresh because they should be quite alive when you buy them.

Next, step: chop up about 3 TB fresh dill, 2 cloves garlic and half a shallot. I use a stockpot, but you can use any type of large pot - it should be large enough that the clams fit in one layer. Pour ~2TB olive oil into the pot and saute the garlic and shallots for about 1 minute. Then add about 1 cup of vermouth, juice of 1/2 lemon and most of the dill (save a pinch or two for garnish). When the vermouth begins to boil, add the clams in a single layer and cover. Check every minute or so and remove clams as they pop open. It will be 4 or 5 minutes until they start to pop. I keep the serving bowl nearby for this purpose - if you remove them right as they pop, they will be at their most tender and juicy.

When all the clams have opened, pour the broth over the clams. and serve with the second half of the lemon sliced up! The vermouth will now be a delicious white-wine clam broth. I like to scoop up the broth with the clam shell like a big soup spoon, and slurp it along with the clam - sometimes with a few drops of lemon from the wedges.

April 3, 2009

Bookmarker Plugin for Ruby on Rails

Filed under: Rails, open source, plugins — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 6:32 pm

Have you ever wanted to add style bookmarking tool to your Rails app? Well, now it’s easy with my new bookmarker plugin.

What does it do? Sites like ThisNext have use bookmarks to allow users to add products to the web (See their instructions for: Firefox, IE) Use it like a simple bookmark. In fireox, this just means dragging it to your toolbar. IE is more complicated. It makes a pop-over window appear when you click it that saves the page URL you are on to your rails application. BUT WAIT! It gets better. You probably don’t want random people throwing bookmarks all over your site, so I’ve made it work with restful_authentication to ensure that the person using the bookmark tool is logged in. A signin screen appears if they are not logged in.

Where do I get it? The github page is here

If you have Git, you can install the plugin to your Rails app like this:

$ ./script/plugin install git://

But before you generate a bookmark model, you will need to install restful_authentication by Technoweenie. I will work on an un-authenticated model, for those who might want it, but for now, I’m sticking with authenticated. See the README for more details, but Here are the full steps.

Install restful_authentication and create a sessions model:

$ ./script/plugin install git://
$ ./script/generate authenticated user sessions
$ rake db:migrate

Add the line following line to your to your ApplicationController class in the file app/controllers/application.rb :

include AuthenticatedSystem

Start up your server and create a user account and login before proceeding. To create a user, go to users/new and create a username and password.

Then you can generate your bookmarking model! I’ll call this one Bookmark, you can call it
Page, Favorite or anything else you want.

$ ./script/plugin install git://
$ ./script/generate bookmark Favorite
$ rake db:migrate

You are all setup! The generator will create a new model (in this case, called Favorite) with associated views, controllers and migrations. Now, fire up your local server, or restart it if you were already running. Then, point your browser to localhost:3000/favorites (or pages, or bookmarks, it’s theĀ  plural of whatever you generated). You will see a link to the bookmark tool. If you are using FireFox, DRAG the link to the top of your screen. This will be your bookmark.
Then, open another page, and click the bookmark. You will see the bookmarker popover window appear!

Here are some action-shots using a model called Favorite. I am bookmarking my blog home page, then looking at the resulting favorites index page.

The bookmarker tool in action. Bookmarking from my home page.

The bookmarker tool in action. Bookmarking from my home page.

Right-click and select view-image to see these at full size.

The favorites index page after adding the bookmark

The favorites index page after adding the bookmark

I’m very curious how people are going to use this, so if you download it and find it useful, please let me know. If you would like to see some changes, also let me know! It’s MIT licensed, so you can use it however you want without restrictions.

March 28, 2009

Books I’ve read 2009 edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 11:55 am

This is the start of a (Hopefully) growing list. As a new years resolution, I’m trying to do more reading. So far, so good.

  1. The Snowball - Warren Buffet and the Business of Life
  2. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master.
  3. Outliers: The Story of Success
  4. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas survive and others die.

In the works (Yes, I read several books at once!)

  1. The Mythical Man Month
  2. Developing Facebook Platform Applications with Rails (Pragmatic Programmers series)
  3. Understanding Unix/Linux Programming (By Bruce Molay, for my Unix/Linux programming class @ Harvard Extension

March 20, 2009

SSORM Pushed to Github

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 10:01 am

So I’ve started an open source project called SSORM. It is a “Super Simple Object Relational Mapper” in PHP.

Why? This is easy to use. So easy that it hurts. You can use the framework as an editor and then put your little objects all over your website. There are very few boundaries. SSORM gives you a bunch of tools that you can modify too. This is not meant to be the most complete, it will never be as robust as Cake PHP. I want this to be very very easy to use. I hope to eventually cut the number of steps in half.

Example situation: Let’s say you have a client who wants to make a website for wines from different vineyards. It’s a basic 1->many database relationship, as in a vineyard has many wines.

Step 1 - download the SSORM package from github.
git:// for your Git users

Step 2 - enter the database info. Remove ‘.tmp’ from the name of the file config/db_config.php.tmp. Open it up and enter your db information.

Step 3 - generate some models. This is coming either today (3-20-09) or tomorrow
sh Vineyard vineyards description:text
sh Wine wines name:string description:text vineyard_id:int
It's not yet smart enough to recognize plurals, so that's why you are enter both Wine and vineyards. Why is wine capitalized? It's the class name, which is capitalized by PHP convention.

Step 4 - edit the Wine and Vineyards classes to establish the relationship
(instructions coming soon!)

Step 5 - run the migrations (you may need to upload your files to the server)
point browser to /config/db_tables.php

You are all set up!

By default, the index pages for wines and vineyards are

More here:

I will come up with some better examples soon! I am trying to do a push a day. I welcome any comments, criticizms etc.

March 1, 2009

Hello World

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — admin @ 1:21 pm

I’m finally getting something respectable on It’s been a long time coming, but I think the results will be worth the wait. This blog will be about web development and entrepreneurship, I hope it will be a useful resource to people on a similar career path, and who knows? I might even be entertaining!

Check out Cooks’ Compass if you want to see one of my most interesting projects - a site that helps people find interesting and exotic ingredients!

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