I have a little trick for perking up leftovers.
What I do is I make something new to go with something old that needs to be eaten. Last week, for example, we had some leftover roast chicken. Now you know I love roast chicken. But like Frances, I prefer it best the first night. (I am not joking about the dog. She will gobble down as much roast chicken as we could possibly feed her the night it's roasted; a few days later, she sniffs it disdainfully and must be coerced to take a bite. She'll consider it when it's lightly reheated. Who's the more evolved species here?)
Anyway, we had this chicken from a few days before. No sides to go with it, though. In fact, I can't even remember what the original sides were. A big salad with croutons, maybe--that's one of my favorite go-to dinners.
So I perused the pantry for something inspiring. Amid the boxes of pasta and jars of spices I spied to my great delight a small ziploc bag of dried porcini mushrooms.
I've gushed about porcinis before; I don't just love the way they add a deep meatiness to any dish, I love the way they remind me of a dear aunt and uncle, both now gone, who would mushroom hunt and share their findings with the family. I thought I had used up all of their precious fungi but here remained one last bag stashed away. I decided on a wild mushroom risotto.
Later, we sat down to dinner. The risotto was delicious, full of shallots, wine, and roughly chopped porcinis. The chicken brightened and stood up to the earthy risotto. All of a sudden it seemed more interesting to me and we finished it off, down to the wings. Who knew a lowly mushroom could bring new life to an old chicken?