Do you know why it’s good?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2008

After last week’s article on biscuits, I received a lot of questions about the types of flour and how they affect baking.

If you are at all interested in the science side of cooking you might want to get “Cookwise” by Shirley Corriher. Shirley is a food chemist and has spent years teaching classes and solving the problems that chefs encounter with certain recipes.

Her book will explain to you that there is more than just good luck involved when a dish turns out correctly, and she also tells you simple ways to make a cake moister, cookies that spread less and how to avoid common mistakes in the kitchen.

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Each chapter has a section called “At a Glance” which gives you solutions to problems that are common to that food type, and they are solutions that work. I promise you the chapter on sauces alone is worth the book.

Do you know how to tell if an egg is fresh? In the shell you can place the egg in a bowl of tap water and if the egg lies flat on the bottom it has a small air cell and is quite fresh. If stands up and bobs on the bottom it has a larger air cell and is not as fresh.

Even with all the information, there is still room in this book for some great recipes.

I have used this pork tenderloin recipe for years and it has never failed me. The nice thing about pork tenderloin is that there isn’t any waste with this cut of meat, after all there isn’t any fat or any bones. The downside is that without any fat you have to be careful not to overcook this cut or it will be dry. I use a meat thermometer to check my pork. I highly recommend doing so because we Southerners are prone to overcooking pork.

Juicy pork tenderloins with spicy chinese sauce

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin sauce (this is a Chinese barbecue sauce, you can find it in most grocery stores)

2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil

3 tablespoons sugar

2 pork tenderloins, 3/4 to 1 pound each

1/2 cup water

4 tablespoons butter

6 cups cooked rice, long grain or brown

6 green onions sliced thinly

In a plastic freezer bag, mix your soy, hoisin, oil and sugar. Add the pork tenderloins and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour and overnight is better. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Line a small roasting pan with foil, spray a roasting rack with nonstick spray, set the rack on the pan and lay the tenderloins on the rack. Place in the oven and roast for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn the tenderloins over and roast 10 to 12 minutes more. Check the temperature in the thickest portion. The center internal temperature should be above 148 degrees.

Pour the marinade from the plastic bag into a small sauce pan, add the water and bring to boil over low hear. Boil gently for several minutes, then add the butter and bring back to a boil. Let the cooked tenderloins stand for at least eight minutes before slicing. Slice thinly at a angle across the grain. Arrange slices overlapping on a bed of rice. Pour the marinade — butter mixture over the slices and sprinkle on the chopped scallions.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Democrat. She can be reached at