Friday, July 10, 2009

Foods you can feed my boyfriend after he has his wisdom teeth removed:
1. Buttermilk Mashed potatoes.*
2. Chocolate pudding.**
3. Snickerdoodle Ice Cream***

*Peel four potatoes and cut into quarters. Boil in very salty water until they are as soft as a banana. Drain and plop right into the tupperware where you'll store them. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of buttermilk and mash with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. I cannot understand why anyone owns or uses a potato ricer as I can't imagine that utensil creates a comparable consistency with the same minimal effort. Plus it is a pain to clean and I don't have a dishwasher. Add more buttermilk as needed and crack fresh pepper over the whole mix. It's not really necessary to use buttermilk for this recipe, but it sounds fancy and I happened to have some leftover from the red velvet cake I made for Kim's birthday last weekend.

**For the record, I make fabulous pudding from scratch, but Cody infuriatingly prefers Snack Paks which I'm positive contain no actual dairy or cocoa. Don't get me started.

***Yesterday, we visited third specialty ice cream shop to open within 5 blocks of my house in the last few months. BlueBird Homemade Ice Cream and Tea Room is run by a bunch of boys who appear to be about 22 years old and what they lack in behind the counter experience, they totally make up for endearing explanations of why they like to make snickerdoodle ice cream, even though the consistency of the brown sugar makes impossible for the ice cream to set up firmly. Then, they get bonus points for confiding that while in spite of its pleasant gustatory properties, their Elysian Stout Ice Cream smelled like wet dog. "But no, try it, you'll really like it!" Color me charmed. A scoop of soupy snickerdoodle paired with a scoop of peanut butter made me very happy, ruined my appetite for real dinner, and had the added benefit of not making Cody's mouth bleed any more than it already had.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It pains me greatly that the breakfast burritos I make at home will never be as good as those bought from even a crappy Mexican food purveyor, like Blue Water Taco Grill in my office building. $3.10 will buy you an eggy burrito with sausage or bacon, but a small scoop of beans will cost you $.25 extra, which just seems ridiculous. Nevertheless, warm tortilla and fluffy scrambled eggs make this the best part of my morning on a jet-lagged and cranky Wednesday.

Friday, March 27, 2009

You know what is more boring than blogging about New Years Resolutions? Blogging about how you're too busy to blog. Yet here I am, the end of March, with only brussels sprouts and oatmeal standing between this site and last year's content. If you care, sorry. Blame grad school. Blame work. Blame my insistence on maintaining some semblance of a personal life despite those two aforementioned timesucks.

I'm not going to pretend that it's profound or well thought out or interesting to anyone besides me, but there's always my twitter. Heck, Demetri Martin thought a joke I tweeted about Greek people was funny enough to retweet. That's as close to famous as anything anyone else that I know did this week. (It's possible that was a ghost-Demetri, but for the purposes of my daydreams about him being my boyfriend, we're assuming best case scenario. Hey! Cody said its ok!)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It is inevitable that if you are a person who knows how and likes to cook or knit or craft or woodwork or whatever, at some point you will become that annoying person who looks at something nice in a store and say, "eh, I can make that better myself." Usually you will be right. There are few things in this world that are for sale that could not be personally made cheaper or of higher quality in your home. The trick, however, is knowing which things are worth your time, because unfortunately, everything you make yourself, be it flaky tender pie crust or a handknit computer bag, takes way longer than buying the same product of inferior quality in the store. For example, I can make both homemade rolls and homemade pasta, but in the complicated quality versus precious time formula (similar in format to the quadratic equation, except with more swear words and heart shaped doodles) buttermilk rolls are totally worth it and gluey homemade fettuccine just isn't that great compared to the fancy pasta I can buy at Pike Place Market.

Recently, I was inspired to make homemade instant oatmeal. Ridiculous, right? Hear me out. For most of last year, I would hurriedly make homemade oatmeal on the stove every morning before work. It can be done in about ten minutes, is a truly delicious and filling breakfast, travels to work and reheats in a tupperware beautifully, and is entirely worth the time investment. Oatmeal is wonderfully adaptable to whatever add ons you happen to have already in your kitchen: almost any fruit- fresh, dried or jammed - nuts and seeds, it all works. Nevertheless, despite one's best intentions, ten minutes before 7 am is still ten minutes, and it can be hard to work up the motivation or speed up the morning grooming process enough to make time for breakfast preparation. The obvious and widely used solution to this problem is instant oatmeal which is available relatively cheaply at virtually every grocery location. And I'm not here to knock store bought instant oatmeal, but it just has never really blown me away or become a fixture in my morning routine. Besides which, it's generally full of sugar and preservatives, which I won't pretend that I don't consume with vigor, but when possible, I like to save those ingredients for my daily intake of food pyramid items cupcakes and goldfish "fishy" crackers. I came across some instructions for homemade instant oatmeal not too long ago and decided to jump on that potentially time and calorie saving train.

To start, you're going to need:

7 cups oatmeal
1 box powdered nonfat milk

Also necessary:

For this batch I used what I had in my pantry - dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and toasted slivered almonds. Clearly, most anything would do to the trick here. Like apple cinnamon oatmeal? Use dried apple bits and cinnamon. Like peaches and cream? Dried peaches. This isn't rocket science, yo. One blogger I read even said that he mixed maple syrup into his and it worked well, but I can't quite get behind that.

The only fancy tool you'll need for this is a food processor. I unfortunately, do not own one of these. For this project I made the mistake of borrowing my grandmother's food processor and received daily heckling phone calls asking for it back immediately thereafter. At one point she even asked me if I broke it and the was the reason I hadn't returned it to her yet. Why? Who really knows? My grandma is crazy. A few summers ago she accused me of stealing a pink towel and red plastic bowl from her apartment while she was in Greece. Then again, at this very moment, she is very kindly hemming several pairs of dress pants for me because I feel to busy/lazy to deal with it myself. So I'll give her a break, I guess. Temporarily.

Take two cups of the oatmeal and pulverize it in the food processor until you have oatmeal powder. Dump it back with the non-pulverized oatmeal and add the dry milk. If inclined, you can think deep thoughts about the oatmeal to powdered milk ratio, but since I'm not really interested in having half empty boxes of powdered milk hanging around, I find that a whole box (you know, the one about the size of a hardcover novel) is the right amount for 6 to 7 cups of dry oatmeal. If you make your oatmeal with salt, add a few teaspoons at this point. Add the aforementioned "fixins." Bam. You have enough instant oatmeal to make several dozen breakfast bowls. I put the entire batch in a gallon ziplock bag and keep it in my bottom desk drawer, spooning it out, half a cup at a time into my "work bowl." Look at me, saving the environment too. If you're more of a single serving type person, you can premeasure your servings into ziplock sandwich bags while you contemplate your resource consumption and wasting all that plastic. Whoa. Sufficiently high and mighty for you? Yeah, me too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Years Resolutions are boring. Fact. That doesn't mean that they aren't useful or meaningful, granted, but there is nothing interesting in platitudes about healthy eating or renewed devotion to exercise or diligent housework. And by boring I don't mean that I'm just embarrassed to admit that a week of houseguests back to back with an exhausting headcold and many extra hours at work have left my apartment in a state unfit for company, just that there is nothing inherently electrifying in a discussion thereof.

That being said, I do hope to do all those pedestrian and grownup things in 2009: eat out less, cook in even more, put my laundry away after I do it and not just pick clean underwear out of a pile on my floor which badly needs a vacuum, put more vegetables and less fried food into my body, attempt to have a much lower percentage of my bloodstream be comprised of diet coke and beer, read more novels and watch fewer bret michaels based reality tv shows, blah blah blah, etc.

Killing several birds with one green leafy stone, I made amazing roasted brussels sprouts this week. This recipe is adapted from a crappy recipe I found on The Kitchn. My mom and I decided to serve brussels sprouts on Christmas Eve, and I foolishly prepared this recipe for the meal without giving it a test run first. Bad call. Barely blanched brussels sprouts sitting in a cold soup of lemon juice and olive oil are just not very good. The flavor combinations were a good idea, but the execution as a cold salad doesn't come close to working. We repurposed the leftovers the next day by roasting the whole mess in the oven with plenty of butter and had a much better dish at Christmas dinner. Since then, I've prepared this sprout recipe as a hot dish two more times to great happiness and success.

Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Preheat your oven to 350. Wash, trim and halve a pound or two of brussels sprouts straight into your dutch oven. Add a shallot or onion thinly sliced and several cloves of garlic chopped as finely as you have the patience for (I barely chop mine in half; peeling and chopping garlic is my very least favorite kitchen task). Zest a lemon and squeeze the juice over the mixture and salt and pepper generously. Add a glug or two of olive oil or softened butter and stir everything to coat. I also added some shredded zuchinni because I had it lying around. I like preparing roasted vegetables because they are especially forgiving of experimental vegetable combinations.

Cover the vegetables and place in the oven for 30 minutes. At that point stir and put back in the over for another 20 minutes or so. This dish keeps well and can be served alongside most things. I ate it plain the night I made it, for lunch a few days later with leftover sausage and potatoes, mixed into black bean soup the day after that, and on Friday night I threw whatever was left of it into the crock pot with a pot roast. Delicious and magical.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanksgiving Seasonal Cocktail: Don't Take it For 'Granate
Pun courtesy of Cody. I am cursed with an embarrassing love of puns, yet the general inability to spool them off all clever and impromptu. I am, however, gifted with cocktail invention skills.

In a cocktail shaker filled halfway with crushed ice, combine:
3 parts vodka
1 part Chambord
1 part Barenjaeger
1 part pomegranate juice

Shake vigorously. By the time you are making your second batch of this, you will probably be dancing around a little bit. This is helpful.

Add two tablespoons of pomegranate seeds to a glass and fill glass halfway with Diet 7 Up (or club soda, or clear mixer of your choice). Fill glass with pomegranate mixture from the cocktail shaker. Partake in other Thanksgiving day activities like mashing the potatoes or playing puzzle in the living room. Think about the things for which you give thanks. I have many.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The week of Halloween, I tried to make caramel sauce and failed twice. Part of the problem is that I don't have a candy thermometer because I am a combination of lazy and stubborn, so I kept burning the sugar. Also, I think that my stove is old and ghetto and the heat is not consistent. Regardless, I am a little cocky and not particularly accustomed to such utter failure in the kitchen, especially not twice in a row. It was quite demoralizing. I had a couple Halloween parties to go to last weekend, and my brilliant plan was to bring sliced apples and homemade caramel sauce and be a hero. I went out and bought something ridiculous like 5 pounds of golden delicious apples for this plan and then stunk up my apartment with two nasty batches of unsuccessful caramel sauce. I rallied and brought Greek cheese plates to my party instead, but had a huge bag of apples to deal with and dispose of. Solution? Applesauce.

Amazing homemade applesauce starts with five or six apples, peeled, cored, and chopped up into pieces about the size of pencil erasers. Dump all your chopped apples into a big saucepan and put about a cup of water into the pan. Cover, turn the stove heat to medium, and let the apples sweat for about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and add between 1 and 3 tablespoons of of cinnamon, sugar and vanilla extract. Simmer the apples until the water is evaporated and the apples are soft and saucy. Mash some of the residual chunks against the side of the pan, and you could puree with an immersion blender, but I don't own crap like that and even if I did, I wouldn't want to wash it.

Applesauce is delicious hot or cold, plain or garnished with nonfat yogurt, mixed into oatmeal or shared with your friends and coworkers. Also, as an extra bonus, it smells like Christmas which is three quarters of what I'm looking for this time of year.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Point: All kids are effing adorable no matter what they are singing

Counterpoint: No, no, clearly that is not the case.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Delicious Cheese Plate

This a a good thing to eat when you've just been to a funeral for the mother of one of your very closest friends. It's not that cheese actually makes the situation better or less raw and painful, per se, but it is very comforting to spend time together and try and laugh about the good things in the world.

Arrange on a plate the following items:

Rogue Creamery Garlic Cheddar
Pepper Jack
Cranberry Wensleydale
Sliced Salami
Very stinky Camembert style goat cheese
Safeway Select Whole Wheat Crackers

Consume the following items with a selection of microbrews, for example, NewCastle, Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale and New Belgium 2 Below. Because you are in California, you can sit outside in the backyard drinking beer and eating cheese, which is pleasant even in these unfortunate circumstances.

When your cheese and beer party is over, your friend may give you the very stinky goat cheese to take home because it is too pungent for her taste. Whatever you do, do not leave this stinky cheese in the backseat of your brother's car by accident. If you do, he will call you three days later with some choice expletives directed towards you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sarah Vowell's new book, The Wordy Shipmates, a history of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was released this week, and seeing as Vowell is, hands down, one of my top five favorite authors living today, this is great news. After spending two weeks in Massachusetts five summers ago traveling around the state in an oversized van taking in the sights and experiences of our crazy Puritan forbearers, I can hardly think of a topic that would make me more psyched. I started reading Sarah Vowell when my mom gave me The Partly Cloudy Patriot one year for Christmas, and was instantly struck by by how she is able to articulate all the things I love intensely about history and the world and express those things in a way that is wry and clever and emotional. The history in Sarah Vowell's books contain the kind of enthusiasm for history and its fascinating strangeness that propelled me through an undergraduate degree and caused me to erroneously think for about eighteen months that I was destined to attend graduate school and work towards my phd in European History. And clearly, that would have made me intensely unhappy in the long term.

Sarah Vowell writes the books I would want to create if I were smarter, funnier and a much better writer. I admire her because she obviously loves to write, but hates to promote her books; I've seen her speak at least half a dozen times and she always seems uniformly uncomfortable and exhausted. I think it partly the fault of how much she clearly hates being in front of auditoriums and mostly the fault of my own fangirl awkwardness that I have had at least two extremely strange and embarassing encounters with Sarah Vowell. The first was your run of the mill clumsy book signing where we were being bustled through the line and I stood there tongue-tied trying to think of something funny to say, when quite obviously she just wanted to go back to her hotel room. The second was painful though; at a 826 Valencia fundraiser in San Francisco, she was "selling" firm handshakes and friendly punches on the shoulder (Dave Eggers was selling hugs, but Sarah and her personal space issues quite clearly don't play like that) during the intermission.  
My mom and I were out in the lobby, and there was no way that I wasn't going to donate ten dollars to 826 in order to have my hero, Sarah Vowell, deign to punch me in the arm.  It was a win/win situation.  We were standing in line for my shoulder punch, and I was growing quickly more and more nervous.  What clever thing would I say to Sarah Vowell?  How could I express to her in a quick sentiment that I knew she was hating being there, rubbing shoulders with the yuppie, liberal masses of San Francisco, but that 826 was a great cause and I totally respected her for that?  When it got to be crunch time, I handed her my ten dollars, and my mom helpfully said "Oh, you should have brought a book to get signed."  And I, suave wordsmith I am, uncomfortably stammered and looked at the ground, "It's okay, she signed it already."  My shoulder was punched and it was seriously weird for everyone involved.  Given these facts, if I had Sarah Vowell's best interests at heart, maybe I would stop buying tickets to her readings in the hope that everyone else in America would have the same idea and  he wouldn't have to go on book tours anymore. Unfortunately, I cannot not go see her at Town Hall next Monday, because it is likely she will say something as funny as she did on The Daily Show this week.  I told Cody that we wouldn't have to wait in line to have my copy of the new book signed, but if I am inspired to try and make a better impression on Sarah Vowell, then, well, all bets are off.  I'll let you know how that works out for me.  

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The world in terms of the number of mopeds and motorcycles per country (big ups to Greece, where one in five citizens owns a motorcycle):
The Telegraph has posted an awesome set of maps depicting "real world" demographics and facts such as land mass (I'm still shocked that this is such a new concept and that the deeply flawed Mercator Projection is still so prevalent), wealth by country, projected wealth in the future, carbon emissions, immigration and tourism. I can't remember when I started loving maps and whether it was because I found them fascinating or because I found them beautiful, but, man, the maps in this book are a just an excellent example of both. This is my perfect coffee table book.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Because I eat a lot of yogurt in my daily life, the stupid Yoplait commercial with the woman talking on the phone to her friend about all the "desserts" she eats hits embarrassingly close to home. The woman is talking about "apple turnovers" and "boston cream pie" and you see her husband in the other room frantically rummaging through the fridge looking for these delicious things, but get it?! It's yogurt! Blerg.

Despite this, I've bought into the ruse far enough to consider plain fruit yogurt to be fine and good, but "lemon cream pie" yogurt to be a treat! I know, it's dumb. But you can imagine my glee at QFC this weekend when I saw the new flavor of Yoplait Light: Strawberry Shortcake. I promptly bought four little 6 oz tubs of it and thought about the wonderful treats I would have at work this week. Yesterday, my anticipation built all morning long. After lunch I would get to eat my Strawberry Shortcake yogurt. I rushed through my leftover sausage and mashed potatoes and gently braised brussels sprouts to get to the moment when my life would be changed by a yogurt dessert potentially more delicious than the real thing. Unfortunately for me, it tasted exactly like regular strawberry yogurt. Seriously. I think it's the same yogurt in a different tub. I feel that Yoplait has made a fool of me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something Amazing:  Whatever, Martha.  

If you get the Fine Living Channel (I have no idea if this is part of basic cable or extended or the crazy 500 channel package I have, because I had never heard of it before today, which is a travesty, because I am about to tell you about the best show in the universe), you need to watch Whatever, Martha.  This is a show where Martha Stewart's daughter, Alexis, sits around watching old episodes of the Martha Stewart show and being dirty and sassy about it.  No seriously, it is an amazing concept and actually very funny in real life.  Watching this show, I suddenly I realized that I am some weird middle ground hybrid between prissy, crafty Martha and inappropriate, snarky Alexis.  Further, Alexis pretends to hate all the fussy things Martha does on her show, but after Alexis proves she knows a recipe for pesto off the top of her head, when her dopey co-host talks about how the hardest thing she can make is scrambled eggs, the look of incredulous contempt that Alexis shoots her is worth ten million dollars.  Also, I like jokes about "rock hard" pillows.  So sue me.  Two thumbs up.  

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I started reading Laurie Colwin this summer because of an article I read on Jezebel about marketing fiction written by women. The article talked about how, in the current literary climate, a novel written by someone with breasts will likely be encased in a pink dustjacket and placed on a table of chick-lit even if its subject matter does not fundamentally concern underwear shopping, boyfriend analyzing, social climbing, strategic bed-hopping and all the other topics that made nasty Candace Bushnell a brazillionaire. While I think this would give most well-read girls pause, upon reflection, I'm not vehemently opposed to idea. I am happy if this strategy enables talented women to make a living at writing, and I like to imagine people looking for the next adventure of a shopaholic being tricked into reading something that potentially has intellectual merit. Laurie Colwin was offered up as an example of an authoress who wrote "serious" books that happened to be about women and also happened to periodically employ humor.

That was enough of an endorsement to send me to the library to borrow Happy All the Time and Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object. Colwin was quite prolific, and with almost ten novels to her credit, it was difficult to know where to start, but those two seemed to be the most frequently acclaimed. I blew through both stories in about 48 hours apiece. Both hovered around the 200 page range and were not particularly taxing to traverse. I had a hard time with Happy All the Time, because I didn't like any of the female characters. They were all such difficult women. One of them was a stay-at-home wife who would frequently disappear for months long chunks of time to "be alone in the quiet" or whatever with nary a substantial explanation to her beleaguered husband. The other main female character was always either being nasty, suspicious and snide to her husband or crying about how she was worried he didn't love her. Both of these women turned their noses up at a peripheral lady character who had the nerve to passionate about organic food. I suppose the point of this was to show that women do not have to fit into a traditional mold of femininity and domesticity, waiting at home with hot meatloaf on the stove. Meanwhile, the husbands were the sweetest, most jovial dopes I'd ever encountered. How did they find their way to these women? The entire time I was reading, I couldn't understand whether Colwin was trying to teach me a lesson embodying ideals I believed in in two very unlikable women, or whether she really thought she was creating Bohemian, modern paradigms for us all to which we should all aspire.

The second book, Shine On Bright and Dangerous Object, was about a slightly more likable woman my age who has just lost her husband in a sailing accident. Within the first ten pages of this novel, it was clear that she and her dead husband's brother are in love, that they are inherently more compatible than she was with her dead husband, and that the two of them are going to end up together. No, seriously, we had to wait through 175 pages of them pretending to not be in love while she grieved and built her new life on her own terms and blah blah blah until she finally got drunk and made out with her dead husband's brother. And then, in the last couple chapters, after she finally permits herself to be happy with the dead husband's brother, she goes away to a musical summer camp for grownups where she starts an affair with a married pediatrician from Tennessee. I had been on board with the whole stupid storyline until she boned the doctor from Nashville. That just made me mad. The character justified it by saying that her relationship with the doctor was something completely independent and special from her dead-husbands-brother-boyfriend at home, assumedly to prove the point that her love for her dead husband is something unique and unconnected to her love for his alive brother. I knew from the beginning she was going to get together with the brother, and I was rooting for it, but I guess I'm too rigid and monogamous to allow the logic to follow so far that one relationship pairing has literally no bearing on another one.

Not surprisingly, the book I liked even better than either of these was Colwin's non-fiction-memoir-cookbook, Home Cooking. Several hundred pages of anecdotes, advice and opinions about the kitchen, this book was all my favorite things. This afternoon I picked up the sequel, More Home Cooking, from the library and three chapters in, it is quickly winning me over. The introduction was all about how all her favorite books have vivid descriptions of menus and food, and as illustration of this point, she mentioned what a infuriatingly underrated author Jane Austen is. "Everybody thinks she's just darling, but she is not just darling, she's really tough." And that sentence helps me to understand Colwin's intentions with her women a little bit better; just as Austen wrote women that expanded conceptions of the abilities and interior lives of Regency women, Colwin wants to create women who challenge our ideas of the everyday pedestrian heroine.

That doesn't mean I have to like them, though, because, man, they sound annoying.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Very Scientific Experiment

Two months ago I read a story in the New York Times about chocolate chip cookies. Now, I could no sooner pick a favorite kind of cookie among the chocolate chips and peanut butters and sugar with buttercream frosting and linzer filled with apricot jam and chocolate sandwich as I could pick a favorite pair of shoes or color of dahlia or episode of Veronica Mars - I just love them all so much - but chocolate chip is right up there with my brown suede peep-toe wedges and deep violet and the one where Logan and Veronica get together for the first time after Logan punches JTT who is an FBI agent posing as a high school student. I was less interested in the overly prescriptive recipe in the Times article as I was by their assertion that the quality and taste of these cookies could be increased exponentially by letting the dough rest in the refrigerator for 36 hours before baking. I've read a lot of cookbooks and bossy, but well intentioned, advice about baking before and had never been told to do any such thing, so I was intrigued. No one, not even the New York Times, will be able to convince me that any recipe for chocolate chip cookies is better than my Grandma Mariel's, but I could potentially be persuaded to mix up the baking process. Obviously, the only way to proceed was to employ the scientific method and ascertain whether Jaques Torres was full of crap or truly on to something.

As mentioned, I would be conducting this experiment using my cookie gospel of choice, my grandmother's Cowboy Cookie recipe. Cream 2 cups butter (or margarine), 2 cups white sugar, 2 cups brown sugar, and 4 eggs. Slowly mix in 4 cups flour, 1 t baking powder, 2t soda, and 1t salt. Finally stir in 3 cups oats and 12 ounces of chocolate chips. My original plan was make the cookie dough at about 7am on Sunday morning when I usually wake up, so that I could bake test batches exactly 36 hours later when there would be a gaggle of boys at my house watching Monday Night Football, but that plan was thwarted when I stayed out until 3 am with my cousins on Saturday night. Instead, by the time I woke up, drank a carafe of french press coffee, talked to my mom on the phone for 45 minutes while laying on the couch with a pillow over my head, and finally got myself organized to make cookie dough, it was 11 o'clock. Luckily, I was a history major and thus am not particularly into "scientific precision." Close enough for government work. At that point, I baked one test batch of a dozen cookies for 12-15 minutes in a 350 degree oven and departed to Madison Park with Megan to eat a shrimp and havarti omelet for brunch.

Monday night I baked 4 dozen more cookies and put the rest of the dough in the freezer to use later. I let the 36 hour cookies cool so as not to tip off the cookie testers, and gave everyone a "Cookie 1" and a "Cookie 2," with no details as to their potential differences and the instruction to tell me which they preferred.

See "My Very Official Cookie Focus Group":

Both Witold and Kevin Hannifan preferred the cookie from the aged dough. Kevin Lind thought the cookies that had been baked right away were superior, but he is a hippie vegetarian, so his taste buds are suspect in the first place. The first cookie definitely had a softer texture, but the aged cookie had a much more distinct flavor profile, it was much sweeter and complex and had a crispy outside but a moist middle. I can not speak to whether the texture was a result of the way it dough had aged or just that I overcooked the new batch a little bit.

The Moral of The Story: I did prefer the cookie dough that had matured in the fridge. Luckily, this complements my cooking style because I frequently make dough ahead of time to be baked at different intervals. Granted, my focus group was quite small, and was cleansing their palette in between tastes with nasty Coors Light, so I don't know that we can take any hard and fast rules from this experiment, other than that cookies are totally delicious.