One of the real benefits to escaping the Texas summer for New Jersey is that I'm forced to clean out my Austin refrigerator. All those jars of things I know I was going to use but now can’t quite remember what they are, the sauces I couldn’t bear to throw out, or that last bit of salad dressing left over from a meal I ordered to go – these are the items crowding the back of my frig, giving me the mistaken belief that I could develop a meal out of just what’s there. But I don’t want to use any of them. They’re old, and frankly a bit frightening.
But what I no longer find in my refrigerator are the half-empty cans of tomato paste. It used to drive me crazy when I’d be working my way through a recipe to find that I needed two tablespoons of tomato paste. Or even a quarter cup. Because no one sells those quantities, and unless you’re some sort of tomato sauce fanatic, you can’t possibly use the full amount that’s in one of those little cans before it starts growing green fuzzy stuff on it.