Meals in Minutes – Tomato Soup

Meals in Minutes: Tomato Soup. Image from the cookbook.

1. This soup is everything a tomato soup should be: warm, roasted, with hints of basil and completely rustic. The tomatoes taste as if they were freshly picked off the vine by Nonna. It is hearty, healthy and full of vegetables.

2. We paired this soup with grilled cheese made using caramelized onion cheddar. It was delicate, creamy and with perfect hints of onion. I opt for using flavoured cheeses when making the basic grilled cheese in lieu of adding other ingredients (have a mentioned that April is apparently grilled cheese month? More on that later).

3. Add a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream if you don’t want to be quite as decadent. Any soup that I can add sour cream for I am totally game for.

4. I also recent made Potato Leek soup using the recipe found here. It turned out extremely green on account of using too much of the leafy bit of the leek. It was ok, but not great.  Next time I will have to bust out  my Julie Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for the first time and try her version of it. It uses heavy cream so of course it’s going to be infinitely better.

Recipe is below the cut and happy munching!

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Thobor’s Boulangerie Patisserie Cafe

After my croissant at Jules Patisserie Cafe, we walked up the street and stopped in at Thobor’s Boulangerie Patisserie Cafe. Thobor’s is #11 on BlogTO’s list of the best croissants in Toronto.

Again, the storefront is nothing inviting or spectacular but inside is a French wonderland of pastries, chocolates and breads. I prefered the interior and atmosphere of this cafe much better – it was warm, cozy and very French.

Having already eaten breakfast, we ordered a croissant (for me) and a pain au chocolate (for GC). We are determined to go back and pick up some truffles and jams because they look too delightful to pass up.

The croissants was ok. It had that slightly chalky texture that Pilsbury crescent rolls tend to have. It was slightly chewy and more dense then a croissant should be. It was nothing worth noting and it was slightly disappointing because the women working there had French (as in from France, rather than from Quebec) accents. If you can’t buy a good pastry from someone who is French, you can you buy one from? GC had the same thoughts on his pain au chocolate (basically a croissant with chocolate in it) but he said the chocolate was very creamy and milky. This confirms that we will have to go back for breads and chocolates but not croissants.

If you are craving a croissant I would suggest you don’t waste your time visiting this cafe. As I said before, it is #11 on BlogTO’s list so I am not looking forward to trying #12…

Happy munching!

Pain Perdu

Last Saturday we went with GC’s parents to Pain Perdu on St Clair Avenue West for a birthday brunch – yes, another birthday celebration for me. I promise this is the last post related to my birthday. And soon I will actually start talking about other peoople’s birthdays!

We have been to Pain Perdu countless times and it is a great spot. If you have not yet been after hearing me sing its praises, I suggest you go. It is a cute French-style bistro with baguettes, croissants and other French yums. We sat at a pair of tables right next to the window looking onto St. Clair so all my pictures are sun kissed.

I started off with a bowl of latte.

How much more European can you get than a bowl of milky, frothy latte? This could have a stronger espresso flavour but I’m used to lattes made by Italians. There is something so comforting about having to hug a bowl this big and keep it close to you with every sip. I would like to buy some coffee bowls for my house.

GC’s parents and I order Croque Monsieurs.

A croque monsieur is a French grilled cheese with ham and Gruyere or Emmental. I love croque monsieur and even more, croque madame (with an egg on top) but it can be tricky to find a good one. I have yet to find one in Toronto so if you know a place that can do this successfully, you will have to let me know. This was good, but not great. The problem is this sandwich is made early in the morning, and then is reheated when ordered. This sandwich is loaded with cheese but is not creamy, gooey or moist due to the reheating. The ham was flaky and there was a lot of it. The sandwich did have plenty of crunch to it though. I liked the little gherkins on the side. Their acidity cut the richness of all the cheese.

I would not order this sandwich again.  Next time I would stick to the quiches and the breads.

GC ordered a slice of quiche.

Every day they have approximately 6 different quiches you can buy slices, or halves from and you have the option to buy whole quiches as well. This is a slice of bacon and onion quiche. There is probably more to it then that but quiches are always simple – a few ingredients on a delicious egg base. The quiche is slightly expensive: per slice it is $6 which isn’t too bad but a whole quiche runs you upwards of $30. For a quiche loaded with expensive French cheese that would be a steal but for a quiche with simple, inexpensive ingredients you aren’t always getting your money’s worth. Make sure to get a quiche that would run you more to make at home then it would to buy at Pain Perdu.

GC also ordered a croissant. The croissants have become slightly smaller in the past few months, and the taste is slightly different, but they are still flaky, buttery and delicious. I haven’t tried a croissant in Toronto that I like more then this one, but my comparisons are limited to chains like Starbucks and Tim Hortons (blasphemy, obviously) and Frangipane Patisserie, which I haven’t been to in years. This is clearly needs to change.

When you visit Pain Perdu, stay for a light breakfast or take it to go and enjoy it in a neighbouring park. The options are endless but I would recommend a latte, a slice of quiche and a croissant.

Happy munching!

Pain Perdu

We decided to keep it low key this weekend and by low key I mean we weren’t going out for food constantly. We are trying to be fiscally responsible and healthy by cooking more at home and going out for food on special occasions. Next weekend we are going out for Winterlicious so this seemed like a good time to start all of this.

Now that being said, we went out for breakfast on Saturday. Fail. We had to go the grocery store to pick up stuff to make lunch (more on that later!) and this was quick – Pain Perdu for croissants.

Now this is actually a GC discovery/suggestion. He first took me here in the summer and we got croissants, lattes and a piece of quiche and had a charming picnic in a roundabout’s parkette. How very French of us.

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