by Chef Scotty



Some people who follow me on social media, and definitely a few of my closer friends, know that since Ash Wednesday (that’s the day after Mardi Gras for you heathens) and up to Easter Sunday is the time period in the christian religion known as Lent. 


Although I’m not much of a practicing anything when it comes to religion (any religion)  I do like some christian traditions… like Easter and Christmas…St. Patty’s Day,  and yes I observe Lent by “giving up” something. Have since the eighties and will probably do so all my life.


With that said, I always give up something that I recognize as having too much abundance or influence in my life and that I am seeing negative results. In years past it has been anything from meat (yes, I was full on vegan a couple of times), wine (that one hurt), smoking (gross habit), procrastination (still haven't figured that one out), and to “stop giving up on things”. 

This year, and not for the first time, I have given up Sugar and Flour. 


During the holidays we are all surrounded by sugar and flour and all the other “good” stuff. None more so than Chef’s and anyone who cook’s/caters for a living. Combine that with the cookbook I’m trying to pull together along with recipe testing (SO MUCH RECIPE TESTING) I was eating something sugary or floury several times a day. I won’t even get into the obvious effects it has on your weight, my weight, but I have noticed other physical affects other than the weight gain. I was having more joint pain (Chef’s are working on our feet 10-12+ hours a day and notorious for bad backs and knees), bad complexion, sleepless nights, numbness, and bad cases of “drag butt” most of the day. 

Come on Easter! 


I promise we’re getting to the recipes


Knowing full well this was all due to my increased consumption of flour and sugar, I decided this year to give…them…up. And I’ve felt great! 


I love baking. I love sweet delectable treats and love that you love my dessert recipes. Am I completely giving them up after easter? No, but I will be more conscious of my consumption of processed flour and sugar, and glad to have the time off to recognize the adverse effects of “too much”. Thanks Lent, you came just in time! 


In honor of Easter in around three weeks and Lent ending, this week's Cooking Segment on Rise and Shine deals with two great recipes containing those two glorius ingredients.  My TWO Lent breaking recipes that  really sounded good, and are perfect for spring, are my Two Sided Cannoli and Panzanella (bread salad ).  Both are easy to prepare, delicious, and the perfect amount of sugar and flour to make me remember how good that stuff is... and how much I CAN live without them. For awhile. 





I like options… I like cherry and chocolate…and I like cannoli during this time of the year.



1 box Pre made Cannoli shells (6-8 cannoli shells) 

15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese

8 ounces mascarpone

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest, microplaned

1 tablespoon vanilla extract 

1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional) 

small pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips 

1/4 cups chopped maraschino cherries 



  1. Remove your pre made cannoli shells and make sure they are nice and crisp. If I buy pre-made shells I typically go for a trusted brand. The brand I use are always nice and crisp and have great flavor…including a light hint of cinnamon, which is why I do not add cinnamon into my cannoli filling like some traditional recipes call for. 
  2. In a mixing bowl add your ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, and powdered sugar. With a spoon , hand held mixer, or whatever method you prefer, cream the cheese and sugar mixture together until nice and smooth. 
  3. Add in the vanilla and almond extracts, along with the pinch of salt. Mix in the orange zest. 
  4. Drain a mid size jar of maraschino cherries and place them on a paper towel. You can rinse them off if you like, but I think that rinses off the stand-out maraschino cherry flavor we come to expect along with the sticky sweet syrup. The paper towels will blot up any excess syrup. Dry the cherries as much as possible and remove the stems. Chop the cherries to confetti size pieces… enough to make around 1/4 cup. 
  5. Divide the cheese mixture into two different bowls. Add the chocolate chips in one and the cherries in another. Mix both separately and place in the fridge to chill. Approximately 30 minutes, or until you just cant stand it. 
  6. If you have two pastry bags with your choice of tips, then great. If not do the zip lock baggie trick (fill a large plastic baggie with the mixture, twist like a pastry bag forcing the contents to one of the bottom corners, snip off the corner of the baggie and pipe the filling into your shells). Fill one end of the cannoli shell with the chocolate, and the other end with the cherry. 
  7. Place your filled shells onto a platter or plate, dust with powdered sugar, and maybe decorate the ends of your cannoli with extra cherry or chocolate.







3 cups torn or cubed bitesize rustic/artisan bread (I used a whole rosemary boule) 

3 tablespoon olive oil for frying

2-3 anchovy filet

Tomatoes are blanched and shocked, ready for concasser.

3 vine ripe tomatoes, blanched and peeled (optional) 

2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes 

Mini romaine or quartered whole romaine lettuce

1 large fire roasted roasted red bell pepper

3 cloves of garlic smashed and minced 

a good tear and chiffonade (ribbon cut)  of fresh basil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup olive oil 

1 tablespoon In The Kitchen With Scotty “Soul-Licious” Seasoning 

Shaved Parmesan, Pecorino, or grana-padano cheese

fresh orange or tangerine segments 


Pan frying the croutons with anchovy



  1. Fill a sauce pot up with cold water and add salt. Take your vine ripe tomatoes and with a paring knife score an “X” in the bottom. Add to the salted water and bring to a boil. Slowly boil approximately five minutes and remove to an ice water bath to stop the cooking. The X will show the tomato skin separating from the body of the tomato. Use each fly to gently peel away the skin. Quarter the peeled tomatoes, remove and discard the seed pulp, and place the tomatoes in a bowl. Remember the word concasser: Peeled, seeded, and chopped 
  2. In a fry pan add the olive oil and begin heating. Right as the oil shimmers add the anchovy filet. Mix around and watch them meld into the oil adding richness and flavor. Next, add  the torn or cubed bread and begging to toss and fry; Cook until toasted and golden then Set aside. While that is going on lay the red bell pepper on a gas stove “eye” and begin to char. Blacken the entire pepper then place in a plastic bag to steam for 20 minutes.
  3. With a indoor grill pan or your outside grill, grill off your romaine lettuce. Make nice dark smokey grill marks leaving the lettuce slightly wilted. This is optional, as you may leave them un grilled. 
  4. In the same pan you fried the croutons add the vinegar, smashed and minced garlic, then add Soul-Licious Seasoning. Heat gently.
  5. To assemble your salad add the croutons and tomatoes (cherry and rough concasser) to a large enough mixing bowl to toss. Remove the bagged pepper and rinse the char and inner seeds away,  then cut into strips. Add the basil chiffonade to the warmed vinaigrette and stir in. Pour the vinaigrette into the crouton and tomatoes and toss throughly. 
  6. Place the grilled romaine on a large serving platter, scoop out the panzanella into the center of the patter or on top of the romaine, and add the strips of roasted red bell pepper. 
  7. Garnish with shaved parmesan, pecorino, or grana-padano cheese and fresh orange quateres or orange supreme. Bon Appetito!