"Improves with age..." Recipes for foods that are actually better after a few days?

What foods do you make ahead of time specifically to enhance the flavor, texture, or general enjoyment? I like lasagna and boeuf bourgignonne better when reheated on day 2. I have seen recipes for honey cake that say "improves with age." Thanks!

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18 Comments

lloreen July 3, 2012
In the summer, gazpacho! It is much better day 2 or 3.
 
Maedl July 3, 2012
Add cakes that contain alcohol, such as a bourbon cake, to the list as well. And fruitcake!
 
louisez July 2, 2012
most cakes and quick breads made with fruit or fruit and nuts are better if alllowed to mellow a day or two. texture/flavor improves.
 
Bevi July 2, 2012
eggplant parm!
 
zahavah July 2, 2012
Braised brisket. Braised shortribs (http://koshercamembert.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/family-hold-back/ and http://koshercamembert.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/low-and-slow/). I think pound cake also gets better after a day or two - it's especially good toasted and spread with butter. Finally, gazpacho also gets better with time)
 
Maedl July 2, 2012
Gingerbread, ginger cookies, Lebkuchen and Springerle (the last two are cookies) improve with age. I think tagines improve with age as well.
 
Reiney July 2, 2012
Curries! Basically anything using braised meat with a spice blend is going to improve after 24 hours or so.

Also - ice cream and custard bases (for crème brûlée, etc) do much better with a 24 hour set in the fridge before spinning / baking.
 
Rachel S. July 2, 2012
Pound cake. Not only does the flavor improve after a day or so, but I find that when well wrapped, the cake is more moist and melt-in-your-mouth tender than it is on day one.
 
ChefJune July 2, 2012
I know a number of folks who call Gumbo "raw" on the day they make it, and they'd NEVER consider serving it that way.

I think any braised dish, and also rice and beans are better the next day. Cole slaw improves with a bit of age, as well.
 
Gibson2011 July 2, 2012
jambalaya, minestrone (yes, the noodles get a bit large, but it's still worth it), cold leftover fried chicken
 
kbckitchen July 2, 2012
Cheese straws
 
wssmom July 2, 2012
Without a doubt, chili. Awesome the first day, better the next day, great the following day, tremendous three days later and you will not believe the wonders awaiting your taste buds after five days!







 
susan G. July 2, 2012
Lately everything I make tastes better the next day and beyond. I think I've desensitized while I cook.
 
amysarah July 2, 2012
I think most deeply flavored soups and braised dishes - whether to be eaten as a 'stew' or as a pasta sauce - improve over a day or two. Also meatballs, stuffed cabbage...pates that get weighted in the fridge for a couple before eating...gravlax or anything cured, of course....

Also, I often make biscotti to send to my kids, not only because they ship well in terms of breakage, but they also taste better a couple of days post-baking (stored in an airtight container.)
 
Panfusine July 2, 2012
Panzanella.. I made one with roast peaches & was hopping on one foot that the other half would leave some left overs for my breakfast the next day.
 
HalfPint July 2, 2012
gumbo
bolognese sauce
 
Benny July 2, 2012
Bourguignon is my favorite dish to make a head of time. Any time I'm braising meat, I let it sit in the refridgerator over night..... even before removing the meat or aromatics from the liquid. I pull the braise out of the oven, cool it down, then put the pan directly into the fridge until the next day. Then I re-heat to liquify and do whatever it was that I had planned.

I must also add Sangria to the list. Always always always let that fruit sit for several hours. I give my sangria recipe to my friends and they tell me that it was horrible when they tried it. I ask if they let it sit and I'm always told "no, I tried it right away". *face palm*.
 
kitchenista July 2, 2012
I agree with you about lasagna and beef bourguignon. Along the lines of the latter, try Daniel Boulud's short ribs recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Daniel-Bouluds-Short-Ribs-Braised-in-Red-Wine-with-Celery-Duo-106671. I've made this a few times now, one of those times having eaten it the same night (made it that morning). It's not the same. It's so much better the next day as the beef gets the opportunity to absorb the wonderful flavors of the sauce; not to mention that you get to skim the fat off the next day, creating a really velvety sauce. And definitely make the celery root puree with it. Love that.

I also think chili is better the next day, but not the kind with ground beef (personal choice here as I wouldn't turn down a bowl); more like the slow-cooked beef or chicken chili.
 
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