2016 February

General Tso’s Cauliflower: A Twist on a Takeout Favorite by ‘Stirmakers’ Lizzie & Patrick

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About three years ago I decided to cut way back on meat.  Don’t get me wrong – I love a good burger like nobody’s business – but I also value a plant-rich diet in order to get lots of proteins and nutrients.  That’s why I was so excited to find this vegetarian version of one of my takeout favorites, General Tso’s chicken.


 This recipe uses cauliflower rather than meat, but that’s about the only thing that’s not true to the original.   It uses all the traditional ingredients – soy sauce, hoisin, ginger, garlic, red peppers and green onions to make a savory sauce that the cauliflower holds well.  Della Jasmine rice with Toasted Sesame and Ginger could have been made for this recipe.  The sesame and ginger in the sauce were further brought to life with the ginger in the rice, creating an awesome compliment to the dish.

If you’re intimated by deep frying – don’t be!  It’s a snap aside from clean up.  If you’d rather not fry, this recipe is incredibly versatile and can be adapted to fit your preferences.  Fix it with pan fried chicken to be a healthier version of the original, or sub in tofu or shrimp for an even lower calorie option.  Can’t wait to make it again for guests!



Serves 4 to 6, adapted from Food52

For the sauce and the frying:

2 Quarts Vegetable or Peanut Oil

1 Tbsp Sesame Oil

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

4 Scallions, white and green parts only, minced

1 Tbsp Ginger, minced

5 Small Dried Chilies

½ Cup Hoisin Sauce

¼ Cup Rice Vinegar

¼ Cup Tamari or Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

2 Tbsp Cornstarch

1 ½ Cups Water, divided



1. In a large wok, Dutch oven, or deep fryer, preheat the oil to 350° F.

2. Prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan, add sesame oil, garlic, scallions, ginger, and dried chiles. Sauté on medium heat for a couple minutes, then add hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, tamari, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Stir and let come to a slow boil.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup water. Mix it completely, then add the remaining water to the cornstarch. (this prevents lumps). Pour cornstarch-water mixture into bubbling sauce mixture. Keep it bubbling on low, whisking often. It will thicken slightly.



For the Cauliflower:

½ Cup Cornstrach

½ Cup All Purpose Flour

½ tsp baking powder

Koser Salt

1 Tbsp Garlic Power

1 Tbsp Ground Ginger

3 Tbsp Sesame Seeds

1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper

½ Cup of Cold Water

½ Cup Vodka

1 Lg head of Cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets

1 ½ Cups Jasmine Rice with Roasted Sesame and Ginger, cooked as directed


1. In a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking powder, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, sesame seeds, and crushed red pepper and whisk until homogenous.

2. Add water and vodka and whisk until a smooth batter is formed, adding up to 2 tablespoons additional water if batter is too thick. It should have the consistency of thin paint and fall off of the whisk in thin ribbons that instantly disappear as they hit the surface of the batter in the bowl.

3. Add cauliflower to batter. Working with one piece at a time, lift and allow excess batter to drip off. Carefully lower into hot oil. Repeat with remaining cauliflower until wok or fryer is full. Do not crowd pan. (You’ll be able to fit about half of the cauliflower in each batch)

4. Fry, using a metal spider or slotted spatula to rotate and poke the pieces as they cook until evenly golden brown and crisp all over, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm while you fry the remaining cauliflower.

Assemble: Once you’ve got all your cauliflower fried, add to a large bowl, pour the simmering sauce all over the pieces, and toss them to coat them evenly. Then serve over Della rice! Delicious!

Della_Pintrist Image_General Tso's

Meet ‘Stirmakers’ Jackie & Don + Bacon & Cabbage Fried Rice!

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“I love food, wine and family (not in that order ;). 
I’ve been married for 33 years to my high school sweetheart Don and have 5 children & 2 grandchildren. We live on a horse farm in TN where we raise chickens for fresh eggs and grow many of our herbs and vegetables in season. We own and operate Simply Living Life, a quaint gourmet shop and catering company in Brentwood TN. We also partner with Arrington Vineyards a local Vineyard in the hills of TN where we deliver gourmet picnic baskets 7 days a week and set up our mobile cottage in season to cook fresh, pretty food onsite that goes great with wine. We enjoy celebrating and sharing our love for food with our family and our community!”

– Jackie

This week we asked Jackie & Don to share a seasonal ‘stir’ with us!  See their culinary creation below…

IMG_3229I am a major foodie! Not the type of picky “I only eat certain things foodie”, but I love food with texture and flavor. It can be simple or complex but the end result is the same, great taste! This recipe is an adaptation of a recipe that I got many years ago from an Italian friend who spent his younger years growing up in Italy. The dish, however, has more of an Asian flavor than Italian. The brown sugar adds such a rich robust flavor and the Della Jasmine Rice with Toasted Sesame and Ginger blends perfectly with those Asian flavors. It is a hit every time I serve it! The bacon in this dish also makes it a hearty side that is quite filling. It’s great to bring along to a potluck gathering. People will love the flavor of this dish, but not quite be able to put their finger on what that specific flavor is. It is also great to serve for dinner with a simple entree such as baked ham, grilled pork loin, or chicken.

Bon appetit!
1 lb. Bacon, chopped
1 Large Head Cabbage (Napa, Savoy or Green), cut in pieces
1 Large White Onion, chopped
1  Cup Brown Sugar
2 cups Della Jasmine with Toasted Sesame and Ginger Rice, cooked as directed
Screen Shot 2016-02-18 at 2.23.48 PM
1. In a large skillet brown bacon til crisp over med high heat. Turn heat down to med and add in brown sugar
2. Stir sugar with bacon and drippings constantly until melted, being careful not to burn (5-8min)
3. Once melted add cabbage & onion to pan and cook until cabbage is wilted (8-10 min). Remove from heat.
4. Add prepared Rice and mix in well. Serve!

Della_Bacon Cabbage Fried Rice

Meet ‘Stirmaker’ Courtney + Cheesy Arancini with Spicy Bloody Mary Shooter!

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While attending Cook Street School of Fine Cooking I learned classical French and Italian cuisine before finishing my education in Paris, France and Asti, Italy. After gaining extensive experience in the restaurant industry, I shifted my focus to the non-profit industry, working at Common Threads, managing an after-school program that teaches inner city kids how to cook healthy food from around the world. At this stage in my life I am a stay at home mom to two wild little boys, who I cook for daily! I also volunteer at a women’s shelter, teaching the women and children how to cook healthy, accessible food. I am deeply passionate about teaching people about nutrition and cooking and believe that if you know better, you do better.


This week we asked Courtney to share a seasonal ‘stir’ with us, inspired by romance and upcoming Valentine’s Day! See her culinary creation below…


This arancini de riso, or fried risotto balls recipe is guaranteed to woo that special someone, or your Valentine’s party guests! (especially with its bloody mary accompaniment!) As a classically French and Italian trained chef, to me there is nothing better than a perfectly cooked risotto; rich and creamy, sharp in flavor, so versatile. Better yet, impress a special someone with a sophisticated risotto dish with wild mushrooms and make sure to have plenty of left overs! The next day, the risotto in your fridge will be begging for a new application as a crowd-stopper: arancini. All your friends will wonder when you became such a gourmet cook! This appetizer is the perfect tasty treat, and served with a spicy bloody-mary shooter, it is sure to start any party off right! Enjoy!


Cheesy Arancini with a Bloody Mary Shooter


Arancini Di Riso

6-8 servings


1 ½ cups Della® Arborio rice

3 cups vegetable stock

1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, brunoise or finely diced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 oz dry white wine

Kosher salt to taste

3 oz Parmesan, grated

Tasteless oil with a high smoke point such as peanut or canola

½ pint mini Mozzarella balls

¾ cups flour

2 eggs

¾ cups bread crumbs

salt and pepper to taste




  1. Heat stock in a saucepan over medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Lower heat and reserve for risotto.
  2. In a saucier or saucepan over medium heat add garlic and onion and cook for about 2 minutes or until translucent.
  3. Add Della® rice and toast until the outer shell becomes translucent and the inside is creamy white. This should take about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add white wine and cook until it evaporates completely so you aren’t left with a strong wine flavor; 2-3 more minutes.
  5. Start incorporating the stock slowly, ladle by ladle and increase heat slightly to medium high heat. Add a ladle of stock, and continuously stir into risotto until it is absorbed. This process will release the starch from the Della® Arborio Rice, creating a creamy sauce. Repeat until rice is al dente, or until it has a bite left to it, but not raw in taste. This should take about 25 minutes.
  6. Stir in salt and Parmesan and let cool, about 30 minutes.



  1. In a large saucepan heat 3 inches of oil over medium heat to 350°.
  2. Make the balls into the size of a Ping-Pong ball, or about 1 tablespoon each. Insert a mini mozzarella ball into the middle of each one.
  3. Set up three shallow bowls; the first with flour, the second with whisked eggs, and the third with breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Place the balls in flour and tap off any excess. Then put in the egg bowl and lastly roll ball in the breadcrumb mixture until fully covered. Place on a sheet tray and repeat until all balls are ready.
  4. Working in batches, drop rice balls in oil for about 2 minutes, turning as needed, or until golden brown.
  5. With a slotted spoon, transfer the finished arancini to a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 2 minutes and serve with the bloody mary shooter and enjoy


Bloody Mary Shooter


2 ¾ cups tomato juice

6 oz Vodka

1 lime, juiced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce, such as Cholula 

2 tablespoons pickle juice

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix all ingredients together, shake over ice and strain liquid into shot glasses.
  2. Put an arancini on a toothpick and serve on top of shooter. Eat. Shoot. Enjoy!

Della_Pinterest Image Courtney

Meet ‘Stirmaker’ Julia + Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers!

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I am the recipe developer and food photographer behind the blog A Cedar Spoon. I share nutritious, seasonal and simple recipes for the home cook along with sharing some of my family’s Middle Eastern recipes. My love for cooking and food comes from my Mom and Grandma who are wonderful cooks and encouraged me to get in the kitchen with them when I was growing up. My favorite thing about food is that it has a way of drawing us together, and creates a commonality between even the most different of people.

Julia has a gorgeous blog with plenty more recipes to drool over! Go check her out at A Cedar Spoon for more culinary inspiration and weekly meal ideas!! This week we asked Julia to share a seasonal ‘stir’ with us, inspired by game day and the upcoming Super Bowl 50. See her culinary creation below…

9-Mediterranean-Lamb-Quinoa-Burger-7-1-of-1Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers make a nice game day meal packed with Mediterranean Flavor and a mixture of basmati rice and quinoa to create texture and bind the burger together.  We like to top these burgers with a light mint yogurt sauce, arugula and tomatoes. 


The Super Bowl is fast approaching! Do you have your game day menu planned out?

Honestly I am just starting to think about what we are going to make because I also have a two year old birthday party to plan. Yes, Drew will be two on February 3rd. I can’t believe how fast time has flown by.

For the Super Bowl I will probably make a few appetizers like this Black Bean Dip with Queso Fresco, these Buffalo Chicken Hummus Bites and this Creamy Mexican Dip will make an appearance on our menu. I can’t wait to add these Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers to the menu alongside all of this delicious appetizers.

You might be thinking…burgers in February? But yes, in my house we grill year round, unless it is a blizzard of course. If you aren’t on board with grilling in 30 degree weather you can make these Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers in the comfort of your home by using a skillet.

These Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers have been on my list to make for a while. Coming from a Lebanese family we eat lamb at most holidays throughout the year, especially around Easter. Outside of the holidays I realized I don’t make lamb all that often for my family. I was really excited to try this new recipe and have a new type of burger to make for game day and for dinners.


You might notice a special ingredient in this recipe, Della Basmati and Quinoa. Have you ever thought to put that in a burger?

The mixture of the basmati and quinoa adds a nice texture to the burgers and binds everything together nicely.  If you haven’t heard of Della Rice , you should check them out. Della Rice is about stirring up culinary imaginations and wants to inspire people to get creative using their variety of rice.

They offer ten varieties including Jasmine White Rice, Jasmine with Toasted Sesame & Garlic, Basmati & Quinoa {my favorite!}, Basmati and Wild Rice and Basmati with Lemon Zest and Herbs. The fun thing is that there are many ways you can use their varieties of rice in easy weeknight dinners because all of them cook in 20 minutes.

But of course, with today’s Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers, I wanted to “stir” things up in the kitchen and think a little outside of the box. I love that I was able to incorporate the Della Basmati and Quinoa in these burgers and created a delicious tasting burger in the process.


As you start to think about your game day menu, consider putting these Mediterranean Lamb Quinoa Burgers on the menu. But remember, these aren’t just for game day and would make a nice, quick and easy dinner that the whole family will love.

Oh, and just to let you know…I will be focused on the food during the game since the Packers won’t be playing! ?

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: 4


  • For the lamb burgers:
  • ½ cup cooked Della Basmati & Quinoa mixture {1/4 cup of uncooked rice will give you the ½ cup cooked rice}, cook as directed
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika {you can use smoked paprika for a smoky flavor}
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne red pepper {optional}
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Optional Mint-Yogurt Sauce:
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoons fresh, chopped mint


  1. Cook the basmati & quinoa mixture according to package. Set aside once done.
  2. If you have a mixer, put all ingredients in the bowl and turn your mixer to low and mix until just combined. Remove and form into 4 lamb burger patties. If you do not have a mixer you can use your hands to combine everything together and then form into four patties.
  3. Prepare your grill to medium heat. Place the lamb burgers on the burners once the gill is heated, flipping once, until browned and cooked until your liking {for us it was about 10 minutes for medium}.
  4. While the burgers cook, in a small bowl combine the yogurt and the chopped mint and stir until combined.
  5. Remove the lamb burgers and serve on a bun with a dollop of mint-yougurt or a spread of hummus. Enjoy!
Garnish ideas:
Greens like arugula, kale or spinach
Crumbled feta cheese
Kalamata olives
Sliced, roasted red peppers

Even though this recipe only calls for ½ cup of cooked basmati and quinoa I suggest making 1 cup {uncooked} of the basmati and quinoa mixture so you have leftovers to use for your meal or a different meal.

You can skip the bun and serve these lamb burgers over a bed of greens or rice.




Meet ‘Stirmaker’ Kate + Chorizo Stuffed Jalapeño Peppers (with Queso) !

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As a veteran restaurant publicist and stylist, I am constantly around food. I love cooking for my family and for new people because it makes me feel like I have to rise to the occasion. My Sunday nights are spent pawing through cookbooks for inspiration and making my grocery lists. I like to mix things up and not just stick to a small repertoire of dishes.

Most cherished cooking tool: my grandmother’s aprons

Ingredient I can’t live without: lemons

We asked Kate to share a seasonal ‘stir’ with us, inspired by game day and the upcoming Super Bowl. See her culinary creation below…


My inspiration for this dish was my friend Alli who loves chorizo more than anyone I know.  She is also a maven when it comes to creating game day foods and so this is my culinary  love letter to her…GO BRONCOS!!!


  • 1/4 C. Della Basmati rice
  • 1/4 pound ground Chorizo
  • 12 large jalapeño peppers (tops, seeds and pith removed)
  • One jar of queso
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Della_Pinterest Image KATE


Serves 4-6

1. Roast peppers with salt and olive oil (350 for 20 min.) let cool.
2 Make rice and brown chorizo. Combine and cool.
3. Hand stuff peppers with mixture and return to oven until warm.
4. Microwave queso and if you have extra filling…mix it in
5. Dip and enjoy!
 ‘Stirmaker’ Tip: To keep peppers fresh and green, roast them instead of boiling or steaming.