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Kitchen Tips and Hacks With REW!

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Kitchen Tips and Hacks With REW!

They say that the foundation of good customer service is to know your product well enough to talk about it. That's a core component of our service here at REW. Our talented staff members aren't just here to help with orders, purchasing, pricing, and shipping; they are no stranger to the kitchen themselves. They each have their own techniques, recipes, special tools, and hacks to spruce up anyone's cooking endeavors, from beginners to world-weary kitchen regulars.

From three of our kitchen savants to you, here are some of REW's greatest kitchen hacks, tips, and recipes!

Blenders, Burgers, and Baking Sheets

Project Coordinator (and restaurant kitchen veteran) Nathan Lockwood has years of cooking experience under his belt, so he certainly knows a thing or two about kitchen wizardry. Take, for example, his personal outlook on the art of making hollandaise sauce:

"I like to use a food processor to make hollandaise instead of whipping by hand. It will almost never "break" as the blades rotate and emulsify much more efficiently than whipping by hand. Blenders work too, but the nature of the bottom of a blender makes full liquid extraction difficult for something thicker."

But maybe you're looking for more than just a way to properly dress your steamed vegetables. Maybe you're looking for something meatier—and what better way to get to the "meat" of the matter than with a good burger? Lockwood shares some wisdom about improving the taste of your hamburger meat.

"Hamburger meat should have a bit of pickle juice and some Worcestershire sauce added before forming into patties," Lockwood said. "The vinegar (in the pickle juice) will cut through the fat and make the burger taste amazing."

All this talk of cooking sounds really fun, but the reality is that things can get pretty messy—and that's not something to look forward to. To keep your kitchen a little cleaner, Lockwood offers a piece of advice:

"A silpat, or silicone baking sheet, will help any cook make dozens of items much easier and with less mess. I use mine several times a week."
Fine Jar-dening and Personal Favorites

Our Vice President doesn't just handle executive matters and the organizational structure of the company; she also knows a thing or two about produce. The next time you want to make a salad or cut up some fruit, keep this tidbit in mind.

"When I'm making salads or cutting up fruits/vegetables, I put them in glass mason jars," Nuzzo said. This keeps them fresh and crisp (not soggy) for 4-5 days. I do a lot of meal prep on Sundays, so I have healthy foods ready to go for the week. I always have fresh cut fruits and vegetables ready to go in my fridge."

She gave some insight into her kitchen lifestyle by sharing her most used kitchen tools.

"The most used tools in my kitchen drawer (besides knives) are my kitchen scissors and my garlic press. I use them both daily. I also have a mini spatula (we sell them at REW) that has so many uses - appetizers, brownies, etc." 

Whether you need to serve, slice, or chop, you should consider adding these tools to your collection.
A Green Spin on Familiar Classics

Ever thought about having lasagna, but you're trying to limit the amount of meat in your diet? Wondering how you can get a taste of pot pie if you're vegan? Jenna DeMetro, our Project Expeditor, has a few ideas for you! She happens to know a few twists on famous meat-based recipes, substituting the meat for healthier alternatives. Regardless if you're dieting or living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, her unique takes are not to be missed.

Take a look at the recipes below:

Mushroom Pot Pie:
16oz mushrooms, chopped
8oz frozen peas and carrots
8oz frozen corn
1/2 white onion, diced
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup of milk (dairy or non-dairy optional)
2 tbs flour
2tbs butter
1tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp Rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare bottom crust in pie pan. Cook onions in olive oil until soft, add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until mushrooms start to brown. Add all frozen vegetables and cook until warmed through and most of the liquid has evaporated. Add in butter and flour and coat all veggies well. Slowly add in vegetable stock and milk choice. Add all seasonings and cook on medium until thickened. Add filling to bottom crust and cover with top crust. Bake for 20-25 minutes until edges are browned.

Lentil & Bean Chili:
1 cup uncooked lentils
15oz black beans
15oz kidney beans
15oz tomato sauce
15oz diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook onions in olive oil until soft, add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Add all other ingredients and seasonings and bring to a boil. Return to a simmer and cook covered for 25-30 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve over a baked potato or white rice.

Veggie Lasagna:
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 lb zucchini, sliced thin
1/2 lb yellow squash, sliced thin
15 oz Alfredo sauce (store bought or homemade)
8 oz shredded mozzarella
8 oz shredded Parmesan
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tap Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
1 box lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare large baking dish with nonstick spray. Boil lasagna noodles according to the package. Layer lasagna noodles, a mixture of mushroom, zucchini and squash slices, sprinkle of all seasonings, sauce and half Parmesan half mozzarella. Repeat two more times and finish with a layer of noodles topped with end of sauce and remaining cheese and seasonings. Bake covered for 20-25 minutes and uncovered for another 10-15 until browned and bubbling.

We hope you enjoy these tips and tricks and hopefully integrate them into your own repertoire. And here's to hoping you discover some sage kitchen wisdom yourself!

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