What do you do with a quart of salsa?

The dinner that I wasn't planning on cooking tonight

One of the miracles of holding a barbeque with your writing friends is that, no matter how much everyone eats, somehow you end up with more food in the fridge than you did when you started cooking. This is great, because after you put away the leftover chicken and ribs, the leathery brisket, the spinach, the green beans, the chips, the salsa, the crudites, the ice cream, and was there a tart? oh right, we took care of that — you lean against the fridge door to shut it and think : Thank goodness that’s done. Now I don’t have to cook for a week! What’s not so great is when you open the fridge the next day and think: What the heck am I going to do with three pints of salsa?

Let’s see. You could cut up the brisket and simmer it in two cups of salsa. Two more cups can be the liquid in a batch of rice a la mexicana. And while we at it, let’s cook up that squash.  Next thing you know, you’re chopping up the bits of oddments and adding them here and there, and musing on how improvised stews and rice with vegetables are just the thing to use up random handfuls of food. Then you taste the brisket, and wow, the tomato and chilis were just the thing to bring it back to life, and by the way that smokiness would go great with some of those beans you have stashed in the freezer. An hour later, you’re eating dinner.

An hour after that, I could go for some chips and salsa.

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