I’ve made pork tenderloin before many times, but it was always hard to tell when it got done, and whether it would be juicy or a log of shoe leather by the end. I also could never seem to get a nice crust on the outside. So finally I decided to get down to learning how to do it right. The recipe I used tonight came from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home, which is a sizable compendium of classic French recipes generously annotated by both Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. The recipe is simply called Sautéed Pork Filet or Tenderloin. It was pretty standard, following your classic “sear, bake, and make sauce” procedure. However this time around I made sure to follow the recipe to the letter. And when I deviated, I noted what went differently, why, and how I fixed it. As a result I think tonight’s pork tenderloin was the best I’ve ever made.
I learned a bunch of things in the process, so I shall write them down here in case you too might find them useful. What follows is my version of the recipe, adopted from and even more thoroughly annotated than J&J’s version (if such a thing were possible).
I love French onion soup in restaurants, the way they come in a little clay bowl all bubbling over with melty cheesy goodness. They can do that because they can stick the whole bowl in a hot oven and let it broil the bejesus out of the cheese. But we can’t, mostly because my mom and Yang teamed up against me to prevent me from purchasing 4 ramekins for $3 at TJ Maxx.
But it’s okay, I’m not bitter. Because I figured out another way to get practically the same delicious result.
Today I tried to make a roll cake again.
I think I know now why the cake wreck blog took off so quickly, and why it’s actually gotten popular enough to be made into a book. Cakes are immensely prone to wrecks. At every stage of the process, from mixing the batter to baking to getting it out of the cake pan to frosting can go disastrously wrong. It’s also that many things normally considered excusable in other forms of food-making suddenly seem heightened in their awfulness when you’re making a cake. People have high standards for cakes. Not only must it taste good and have good texture, it must be structurally sound and beautiful. No one cares if a stir-fry or a spare rib doesn’t stay stacked in a three-layer tower, or crumble when you try to roll it. No one cares if it looks disheveled and thrown together, which often actually adds to its devil-may-care culinary appeal.
Mochi is one of those “projects” I’ve been meaning to make for a long time, along with bread and Mexican mole. The bread I’ve tried before and it was a failure. Mole… don’t have all the ingredients and may never. But today I finally made mochi.