Nacho Cheese Soup

nachocheesesoup

So the Mrs and I were sitting in a cafe at the Denver Airport a couple of weeks ago, snacking on a big plate of nachos, and I got this goofy idea.  The nachos are tastiest down at the bottom, when the chips start getting soggy, and there’s a lot of melted cheese left on the plate.  So why not take it to an extreme?  Back home, I tried it out, and ¡mira! it’s good.

Nacho Cheese Soup

  • 6 corn tortillas, fried into crispy strips, about 1 x 2″ (I do my own in peanut oil, YMMV)
  • one Fresno or serrano pepper, minced
  • one Hatch or Anaheim pepper, sliced into thin rings
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 12 oz processed cheese food (“velveeta”), cut into ~1″ cubes
  • 2 cups coarsely grated medium or sharp cheddar
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (I use grape tomatoes, halved)
  • 1/2 cup sliced olives
  • one avocado, sliced into thin wedges
  • 2 oz butter
  • 1/4 cup flour

Saute the peppers and onions in some olive oil until the onions are translucent, and set aside.  In a large saucepan, make a roux with the butter and flour.  When it’s bubbling and starting to brown, add the chicken stock and wisk into a gravy.  Then add in the cheesy cubes, wisking as they melt.  Then add the grated cheddar.  Then add the sauteed peppers and onions, and remove from heat.

Just before serving, stir in the chopped tomatoes (you want them cool and firm, not cooked).  In each serving bowl, place a half-dozen tortilla strips, fill with soup, and garnish with more chips, 3 or 4 avocado slices, and some sliced olives.  Serves two or three.

Christian Humor

Contrary to what the mainstream media and campus secularists might have you believe, thoughtful Christians have a well-developed sense of humor.

  • Exhibit A:  the Babylon Bee, which has a special place in its heart for Joel Osteen
  • Exhibit B:  the  only Lutheran joke I know — A woman of fundamentalist persuasion was traveling, and visited a Lutheran church one Sunday morning.   The pastor launched into a particularly rousing sermon, and the woman was moved to respond to each new insight with cries of “Hallelujah,” “Sing it, preacher,” “Amen, brother,” and “Praise the Lord!”  Members of the traditionally reserved–and silent– congregation looked askance at the woman (this is NOT Lutheran behavior!) and fidgeted in their seats, until one of the ushers approached her and whispered “Excuse me madam, but we don’t praise the Lord in our church.”

Tip on the Bee from Glenn Reynolds, who apparently reads everything new on the web at 5am, daily.

Maybe clothes DO make the man

Here’s a school program that’s so off-the wall it might actually make a difference: providing washing machines in public schools.  It’s early days, with little data collected, but compared to Michelle O’s disastrous school lunch madness, it’s an intriguing experiment with potentially outsize benefits.  Virginia Postrel might have some insight into ideas like this.

Tip from Happy Acres, who’s gotten this a bit muddled with the more general notion of personal hygiene* as a component of good sanitation and public health programs.

whitemansoap

* I’m usually very critical of do-gooders descending upon folks and telling them what to do “for their own good.”  I call that the Bwana Syndrome, and progressives thrive on it, at home and abroad.  However, Bwana says “wash your hands” seems eminently sensible to me.  Can “wash your clothes” be that much different?

An end run around an impossible integral

Ever-insightful polymath John Cook shows how to integrate the Gaussian PDF, in less time than it takes to make breakfast.  The trick?  Coordinate transformations and the Jacobian are your friends.

normal_distribution_pdf-svg

A suitably-embellished version of Cook’s post will appear in my lecture notes in the Spring semester.  Thanks, J.C.

 

Holy Brainstorming!

Francis Menton, the Manhattan Contrarian, has been kicking around a idea so radical it might actually work: giving Manhattan public housing units to their residents to kickstart them out of poverty.  What really caught my attention was this:

Well, what happened to the idea of making it possible for the poor to get out of poverty?  The residents of Manhattan public housing are living, breathing human beings who deserve the opportunity to escape from poverty and achieve success in the world; they are not animals to be kept imprisoned in a zoo for the viewing pleasure of their superiors.

Tip from Menton himself, discussing Ben Carson, which came from a tip at Maggie’s Farm.

Rating a Published Clinical Trial…

…can be done in 10 minutes or less, using the Jadad score.  There’s a full explanation in the original paper,  but suffice it to say, it’s pretty easy to identify sketchy studies using this method.  Aaron Carroll, writing in the New York Times, shows how this affects the credibility of nutrition research.  For those who want to try this at home, here’s the scorecard from the paper:

  1. Was the study described as randomized? (YES/NO)
  2. Was the study described as double blind? (YES/NO)
  3. Was there a description of withdrawals and dropouts? (YES/NO)

Give 1 point for each YES, and 0 points for each NO, with no partial credit.  Then assess these

  • For question 1, GIVE 1 additional point if the method to generate the sequence of randomization was described and it was appropriate (table of random numbers, computer generated, etc.) Otherwise, DEDUCT 1 point if the method to generate the  sequence of randomization was described and it was inappropriate (patients were allocated alternately, or according to date of birth, hospital number,etc.)
  • For question 2, GIVE 1 addtional point if the method of double blinding was described and it was appropriate (identical placebo, active placebo, dummy, etc.).  Otherwise, DEDUCT 1 point if the study was described as double blind but the method of blinding was inappropriate (e.g., comparison of tablet vs. injection with no double dummy).

Hey, it’s not perfect, but then neither is the APGAR score, and look where that’s gotten us.

Tip from Andrew Gelman’s often contrarian Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science blog.

 

Do you have King Salmon in a can?

At last, we tinned fish eaters will have our day!  Aaron Gilbreath pens an Ode to Canned Fish, and it’s  a treat.

tonnino-tuna

Just a few minutes with Bing found some great suggestions from the Chowhound.  What’s not to like?  I’ve just ordered McIntosh’s Tin Fish Gourmet, and I’ll post recommendations as I try recipes.

Tip from American Digest, which is patronized by a band of deplorable band of canned fish and (gasp!) Spam eaters.