Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Spicy Stir-Fried Pork and Peppers (Page 487)

  • Date: Friday, February 29, 2008 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Mike
  • Recipe Rating: A-

Mike chose this main course for dinner on Friday. This is the second recipe I have made in recent history that calls for ingredients to be deep-fried before they are stir-fried. I have to admit, I don't particularly understand the purpose of this. Why not just skip the deep-frying and stir-fry it? Are there any experts on Chinese cooking out there who can comment on whether this deep-frying and then stir-frying technique is authentic, and if so, why? In any event, the pork in this recipe was deep-fried and then stir-fried with the peppers and delicious sauce. Mike and I started a small grease fire while deep-frying, but it was worth it, because the dish came out lovely. The meat was tender and flavorful, and the red bell peppers were a perfect complement. It was really the sauce that made the dish though. The spicy stir-fry sauce was composed of very simple ingredients, yet it really shined. It was indeed spicy, but the spiciness didn't overwhelm the actual flavor of the sauce. Overall this was a great dish -- Mike and I happily devoured it!

This recipe isn't online.

It's the middle of the semester, which means that it is time for midterm grades! We are required to submit official mid-semester grades for all freshman and some sophomores in our courses. I think it's a good idea to let everyone know how they are doing, so I posted midterm grades for my whole class. This happened on Monday, two days after their Saturday midterm exam. The exam didn't go so well. This was true overall, not just for my section, but in my section it was worse than most. The reason (I think!): So the grade cutoffs are set departmentally on the exam, since all students take the same one. We set the median to be a C-. A lot of people had the median score, so the end result of setting the C- there was that about 42% of the class got Ds and Fs on the exam. This percentage seemed a bit high to me, but ok. The problem though was that many sections had already had a huge number of people drop, so they had already lost their worst students. In my class that wasn't true. In general I don't encourage students to drop before the first midterm -- sometimes it takes time to see if they will get into the swing of things and be able to pass. In any event, with all my weakest students still in the class, the median in my section was lower than the median in the whole class. So, instead of 42% of my class getting Ds and Fs on the exam, more than 50% did. You can imagine how happy they were about that. Fortunately the mid-semester grades took into account things like homework and quizzes and the first exam, so they were higher. But still, students were shocked and worried. The drop deadline is today, and yesterday afternoon I had a line of students out my door who wanted advice, or to explain to me why they had done badly on the test, etc... I felt bad for them. It's hard watching students who are clearly upset, and not really being able to do much for them. I gave them the best advice I could and hopefully it will help them start to do better!

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