- Date: Monday, April 21, 2008 -- 8pm
- Location: Bloomington, IN
- Kitchen: My Apartment
- Recipe Rating: A-
Since I am soon moving out and handing over my apartment to some other people for the summer, I am trying not to stock the freezer too full of food. So instead, I am making recipes that sound like things I would actually like to eat (crazy, I know!?!). The only reason this recipe made it so long without getting made is because up until very recently I didn't own a wok. BUT, a few months ago Mike came for a visit and he bought me one as a present! Yay! So how was this Ma-Po Tofu? Well, I am typically not terribly impressed by my own cooking. But I took one bite of this last night and my first thought was, "Man, I'm good!" To be fair, I didn't do much -- it is just an excellent recipe. But Asian cooking is not my specialty, and yet this came out as tasty and delicious as any Ma-Po Tofu I have ever had. I think what made this recipe so good was that The Book didn't dumb it down. Often when The Book has recipes for Asian dishes they modify so that the ingredients are easy to find. It's not an unreasonable choice to do that, but the ease comes at a cost -- the end product is often not as good as a more authentic version. This recipe wasn't dumbed down in that way. So yes, I had to go to the Asian market to find the ingredients, but it was worth it! This dish was delish. It was flavorful and spicy, without being overpowering. I was skeptical about poaching the tofu before stir-frying it (I had never done that before) but indeed the tofu came out with a perfect texture and flavor. The sauce had a great consistency, and even though it only had a few ingredients it had a wonderful depth of flavor. Ground pork is always delicious and this dish was no exception. The remarkable thing though was how well everything worked together. This dish really sang. I was extremely happy with it.
Here is the recipe.
I spent part of my morning today filing academic misconduct reports against my two students who cheated on the quiz last week. I debated about whether or not to file official complaints against them, but after talking with some of my colleagues I decided that it was important to do so. Plus, the system here really has a second chance for the students built into it. On their first minor offense students usually receive only an internal mark on their record (and whatever penalty I inflict on their grade in my course). It is the later offenses that are a real problem for the student. So I decided to go ahead and file the reports. Part of the process is confronting the students and giving them a chance to respond. I spoke with both students separately this morning and had two very interesting, and different experiences.
The first student I spoke to denied having cheated. When I asked why he had written down the answer to a question that wasn't on his quiz (and happened to be on the other version of the quiz) he couldn't offer any explanation. He insisted over and over that he would never cheat, that he wasn't the kind of person who cheats, and that I could ask anyone who knows him to verify this. I told him that I believed that he had cheated and I was filing an academic misconduct report, but it shouldn't be a big problem if he doesn't have any past offenses. That's when he admitted that in fact he already had an academic misconduct on his record for cheating. So much for "I never cheat." Then he admitted that he may have glanced at the paper next to him, but pleaded with me not to file the report since it could have serious consequences for him. Seriously? He just lied to my face, and then wants empathy?!? I filed the report.
Student number two immediately confessed that he had copied off the person in front of him. I told him that I was filing an academic misconduct report. His response: "But I was honest about it." My response: "But you cheated." He, too, pleaded with me not to file the report. I explained that I take cheating seriously, and that I was going to file.
The thing that was difficult about it was that both students acted as though I was being unreasonable. I explained to them the first day of class (and over and over throughout the semester) that I take cheating seriously, and that there would be consequences. It was their choice to cheat, not mine.