This is not a post about a shoe addiction. Nor is it really about sailing or pirates, although it would be a lot better if it were. This one is about finding that perfect pair of ankle length cowboy boots and taking the easiest way to stretching them out.
A couple years back I was fortunate enough to find the perfect mid calf ankle boots. While on a road trip through Gaspésie, on a highway along the northern coast we stopped at a roadside yard sale and there they were, in the center of a dusty orange fold out table. These golden yellow Boulets, proud wing stitched on the outside, just the right amount of scuff on the toes. The leather was soft and worn in and on the inside the name Dany Bond was sharpied in black. Best $10 purchase I’ve made in a long time.
So this time around, walking home from the neighbourhood Home Depot not three weeks ago, down on rue de Courcelle past the train tracks, I found these black beauties just laying next to the empty parking lot leaning on a telephone post. Looking around I thought to myself, could these boots really have jumped off someone’s feet? Is there some babe walking home barefoot or square dancing at the bar in wet socks, unaware that her boots have abandoned her?
Like taking in a stray dog, I fell instantly in love. I grabbed the boots, desperately wanting to take them home and nurture them back to a healthy step. Living just around the block, it was no hassle at all. I walked up the stairs, boots held tight in the fold of my arms, unlocked the door and headed straight to the couch next to Marc Jacobs, king of rabbits, destroyer of shoelaces and all things leather and beautiful. “Not these ones, man.” This is what I told him. Obey he most certainly will never, hah, so I made sure to rub some Tabasco on the boots. It’s a trick to keep rabbits from eating precious items that are within their reach.
Sitting on the couch, I hurried to unlace the boots I had on, black 14 hole Doc Martens I’ve had for 11 years now. Were those ever a pain to break in! It must have taken at least 2 years of weathering bloody heels, band-aids and blistered toes before those Docs and I became good pals. And damn have they stuck around during the toughest of times. 6 Montreal winters, which is a record of sorts considering they salt the sidewalks here like we’re in a damn poutine.
Inhaling slowly, I finally slipped a foot inside one of the found boots, wiggling my toes up to the front, holding my breath while I drop my heel in and …it’s a tight fit. So, yeah. I tell myself everything is alright, the boots and I will make it work, because I had a plan.
I wasn’t going to wait it out this time around. Sick of torturing my feet for the sake of style, there was a way to get the boots to love my feet asap and diy. So I poured myself a warm bubble bath and jumped right in with the boots on.
Until the water was cold ; )
The best recipes are without a doubt the ones you dream of for months, if not years after you’ve had them. Such is how I feel about my friend Adam’s cannelloni – moist spinach & ricotta, velvety smooth tomato sauce and melt in your mouth AMAZING fresh pasta. However to my dismay, the man’s a real Montrealer who eats out every night and thus his fridge is always bare - but not tonight! After many months of nagging I finally got his recipe and it’s really quite easy.
So here it is, enjoy with a heavy red wine ; )
Adam’s Honeycomb Cannelloni
Melt the garlic in a pan with a heap of butter. Cook the garlic until it liquefies and then throw in the celery and onions until they brown. Add a splash of wine or vermouth if you have. Add the mushrooms. Don’t hesitate to add the tomatoes shortly after as the mushrooms will release their flavor in the sauce later on. Add a little pepper, basil and maybe a touch of oil. Then leave it on the stove till the cows come home. Just don’t forget to stir once a while.
A solid egg to flour ratio is key. To make cannelloni for 4, Adam uses 3 eggs for 2 cups of flour. Beat until silky, work the dough with your hands. Avoid putting water directly into the mixture. Instead, wet your hands when mixing the dough, it’s just easier. Once the consistency is silky smooth, roll the dough into a ball, throw it into the fridge for 30 minutes up to overnight…avoid keeping it in the fridge for a full day as the dough will spoil.
When ready, flour the work surface with tipo 00, cut the ball into pieces and flatten out. Adam’s Babcia left him a Grazia pasta press, a real dream machine. So if you have a similar bad boy toy, roll the dough through the settings, widest to thinnest.
*If you are an unfortunate who is not in possession of a pasta press, like myself, “there is always hope.” Take a rolling pin, a bottle of wine, a 40 – whatever lying around that rolls and flatten small pieces of dough into circular shapes.
Set the dough flat on the counter, use a small cylinder shaped thing to cut and shape the dough into little solders and set them upright in a dish. We used French onion soup bowls but any pretty, oven-safe dish will do. Leave space between the shells for sauce and pop them into the fridge to let harden.
Cook spinach in a pot of boiling water. Drain water, pressing the spinach to one side of the pot with tongs. This keeps the spinach juicy. Chop incredibly fine, into a paste is even better. In a mixing bowl, fold the spinach into the ricotta forming a creamy mixture. Pour into a pastry bag or use a Ziploc bag as we did. Seal, snip and fill the shells with the mix.
Sauce the soldiers and add a modest amount of grated cheese on top. Have fun with it and use Parmesan, mozzarella, oka or, as we did, chose against having any fun whatsoever.
Place dishes in the over at 350o for approximately 20 minutes or until tops are golden. Fresh pasta cooks rather quickly so if the top is gold that’s as good indication as any that the middle is ready too.
Perhaps when someone takes the effort of making you a nice Italian dinner, one shouldn’t wear a sombrero. Oh well, I’ll never learn ; )
Il n’y a rien de meilleur, lorsqu’on se tape une journée très moche, de recevoir une visite surprise d’une amie qu’on n’avait pas vu depuis l’an dernier. La jolie Aurore est venue cogner à ma porte dans l’après-midi, thé flamant rose de chez David à la main et on a jasé de voyages, de tatouages et de rien.
Des gnocchis frais pour un souper avec des amis requièrent une visite au marché Atwater, donc nous avions pris route au long du canal Lachine. Le soleil printanier réchauffa nos joues, malgré la glace du canal qui témoigne de l’hiver persistant.
Nothing brightens up your day like an unexpected visit from an old friend, especially when she comes bearing fancy teas. Her wry sense of humour and appetite for life’s delicate pleasures makes this Parisian lovely the dandizette of choice. Having just been to David’s Tea, Aurore made us a pot of Pink Flamingo, a delicious blend of citrus, beetroot and hibiscus. She briefed me on her travels, her tattoos and dime-a-day loves.
Early mid-week closing hours pressing us for time, we dashed off towards the Atwater market for a quick dinner fix of fresh gnocchi and thinly sliced prosciutto. The scenic route along the Lachine Canal is always ideal; spring’s warm sun shone down on our backs while on our road along the frozen canal.