Braden Family Cookbook

Chuck Braden

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Warning Message (Helpful Hints)

Warning message!  What’s this all about?  Well, this is an amateur production.  I need to warn some of you to take a little time to read the recipes through before you charge forward and end up with a pot of undercooked brown gloop that is only fit for securing the major wood connections in a log cabin.   

Be careful.  I bake in convection ovens and have a gas cook top.  My oven temperatures may not be better than yours, but they are different.  Use a thermometer to check your oven settings and to make sure you are deep frying at the correct temperature.  

Be very careful when cooking meats using recipes that call for a certain time at a certain oven temperature.  You will usually not get the degree of doneness expected unless you have experimented with your oven.   I use a digital probe thermometer that goes off when meat reaches a set temperature.  It works and has paid for itself in many perfect roasts. 

Spices and herbs in this book are at minimum levels.  Make the recipe the first time with at least the amount of herbs and spices called for.  Adjust the recipe if you want a more intense taste the next time.  Use fresh ground pepper and kosher salt when you cook.  You will be amazed at how much better fresh ground pepper tastes.  You will also be pleasantly surprised with what kosher salt does to your recipes. 

Cook with good quality fats and oils.  I use canola, peanut, and macadamia nut oil for high heat applications.  Canola and peanut oils are great for deep frying.  Macadamia nut oil is expensive so I use it in small quantities for high temperature sauteeing.  Use only unsalted butter for cooking.  You can always add salt to a dish as you go or at the end.  I use an inexpensive bulk extra virgin cold pressed olive oil for cooking (don’t try to fry with it as it burns at a low temperature).  Invest in an expensive Greek, California, Italian, Spanish, or Portuguese olive oil to use for salads or to dress cooked vegetables or fish.  This is the same oil you will use for dipping good bread in.  Try a variety lot of these diverse olive oils! 

I am not a baker so will not give you advice on oils or fats in baking other than the “butter-flavored Cisco” in my Chuck’s D.F. Chocolate Chip cookie recipe in this book.  If you use anything other than the butter-flavored Crisco in this recipe, the entire cookbook will self-destruct as your first tray of cookies comes out of the oven! 

Finally. . . there are mistakes in this book.  Sometimes an item is in the ingredient list but  not included in the cooking instructions.  Fake it!  Add the ingredient when you think it should be added.  If what you do works, make a written change to the recipe.  If in doubt, check your copy of “The Joy of Cooking” for basic cooking techniques. 

Have fun!