Peppermint Bark – Cooking Demo with Chef Walter

Recently, Chef Walter invited me back to demonstrate my Peppermint Bark recipe on WVLT TV in Knoxville, TN.


24 oz dark chocolate chips

½ – 1 bag mint chocolate candies

1-2 tsp peppermint extract

5 candy canes, crushed


  1. Lay wax/parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Set aside.
  2. Make a double boiler (if you do not have one) by filling a saucepot with 1-2 inches of water and set to medium heat to simmer. Add a glass bowl inside saucepot. It should sit down in the pot but not touch water.
  3. Melt dark chocolate and mint chocolate candies in the double boiler. Stir often while chocolate is melting. Once melted, remove from heat.
  4. Stir peppermint extract and crushed candy canes into melted chocolate.
  5. Pour ingredients from the double boiler onto the wax/parchment paper on cookie sheet. Use a spoonula/rubber spatula to spread evenly to about ¼-inch thick.
  6. Chill in refrigerator until chocolate is hardened. Break into small pieces. Serves 8-12.



Original Ingredient:

Replace With (use exact measurements from above unless otherwise noted below):

dark chocolate chips and/or mint chocolate candies

semi-sweet chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, non-dairy chocolate, or any type of chocolate chopped with a serrated knife

peppermint extract

peppermint oil or crème de menthe

5 candy canes

10-15 peppermints (crushed)



-       If you cannot make a double boiler, melt chocolate in a saucepot on stovetop over medium heat, stirring often

-       For a quick way to make this dessert, simply put chopped chocolate in a microwave bowl and melt until smooth.

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Holiday Cake Truffles

I know this cooking demo is delayed getting posted on here but life has been crazy busy. On this cooking demo, I am promoting my 2nd cookbook that will be coming out soon. Due to my life being so busy the past few months, the book will not be ready for purchase until May or June.  It is being designed as I write this and I will let you know when you can purchase your copies.

If the video does not show up, click here to watch.

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1½ cups buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups granulated sugar
⅛ – ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 (1-oz) container red food coloring
1 (1-oz) container blue food coloring
48-56 oz white chocolate
¼ – ½ cup vegetable oil

Frosting Ingredients
1 – 1 ½ (8-oz) packages cream cheese (reduced fat) (room temperature)
1 – 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter/margarine (room temperature)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Grease two, 9-inch round cake pans.
3. In a mixer with a paddle attachment or a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, mix oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla extract until creamy.
4. In a medium bowl, add cocoa powder, flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and whisk/sift to combine.
5. Slowly combine dry ingredients with wet, mixing on low speed. Scrape sides while mixing. Mix until smooth and well combined.
6. Divide batter in half into two bowls.
7. Fold in/lightly combine food colorings to batter, with one color in each bowl.
8. Pour cake batters into the 2 greased pans.
9. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into each cake comes out clean. Remove cakes when done and let cool in pans.
10. While cakes are baking, beat cream cheese, butter/margarine, and vanilla extract in a mixer/mixing bowl until frosting is light and fluffy.
11. Slowly pour in confectioner’s sugar, mixing on low speed at first. Once sugar is completely incorporated, increase speed and mix until creamy. If too thick, add milk.
12. Put each cake in separate mixing bowls and crumble into small pieces with a fork or hands.
13. Add half the icing to one bowl and half to the other. Thoroughly combine cake and icing in each bowl.
14. With a small scoop/tablespoon/or hands, form small balls from the mixture in the mixing bowls. Place the balls on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Once complete, chill balls in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
15. After balls have chilled, make a double boiler (if you do not have one) by filling a saucepot with 1-2 inches of water and set to medium heat to simmer. Add a glass bowl inside saucepot. It should sit down in the pot but not touch water.
16. Melt white chocolate in double boiler. Stir often while chocolate is melting. Once melted, remove from heat.
17. To thin white chocolate to reach desired consistency for easy dipping, slowly stir in about 1-2 tsp vegetable oil as needed.
18. Carefully dip and coat balls into melted chocolate. Place coated cake balls back on cookie sheets, leaving a little space in between each one. Repeat until all cake balls have been dipped.
19. Refrigerate until white chocolate has hardened. Makes approximately 100 balls.

Food Coloring Colors for the Holidays
Fourth of July – red and blue
Christmas – red, green, and yellow


Original Ingredient:

Replace With (use exact measurements from above unless otherwise noted below):

extra-virgin olive oil

canola oil, coconut oil, vegetable oil, applesauce, or canned pumpkin


1 ½ Tbsp white vinegar and soy, rice, oat, whole, or any percentage of milk.

Mix and let sit 5 minutes.


egg substitutes, ¼ – ⅓ cup silken tofu, or egg whites

white wine vinegar

white distilled vinegar

vanilla extract (check labels for gluten-free)

almond extract

all-purpose flour

cake flour, gluten-free flour blend plus 1 ½ tsp xanthum gum or unbleached flour

granulated sugar

sugar substitutes

food coloring

all-natural food coloring

white chocolate

dark or semi-sweet chocolate

cream cheese (reduced fat)

cream cheese or Tofutti® Better Than Cream Cheese


dairy-free margarine or non-hydrogenated non-dairy butter

Milk (for frosting)

almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, or oat milk

vegetable oil

canola oil


chefs’ tips

-       Store oils in a dark cool place away from heat sources and sunlight.

-       Store flour in air-tight containers to prevent bugs. Adding a bay leaf to flour will also keep bugs away.

-       To check the freshness of an egg, fill a bowl with water. If the egg sinks to the bottom, it is fresh. If it floats, it needs to be discarded.

-       When cracking an egg, a stray piece of shell may fall in with it. Remove quickly by scooping it up with a larger piece of eggshell.

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Seafood Au Gratin – WVLT Chef Walter

I recently cooked with Chef Walter on WVLT Knoxville, TN, making my Seafood Au Gratin recipe from Be Your Own Chef.

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Homemade Stuffing – Chef Walter WVLT 12.21.2012

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Turkey Pot Pie – Cooking Demo on WVLT Knoxville 11.1.12

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Dreamsicle Ice Box Pie Cooking Demo – Live at Five at Four WBIR

This is the cooking demo from Live at Five at Four Channel 10 Knoxville that aired on September 18, 2012. We made the Dreamsicle Ice Box Pie from Be Your Own Chef cookbook.


12 oz frozen orange juice concentrate (slightly thawed)

1 (8 oz) container whip topping (fat free)

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

2 graham cracker pie crusts



  1. In a bowl, mix orange juice concentrate with whip topping and condensed milk.
  2. Pour into graham cracker pie crusts.  Cover and freeze for 8 hours.  Serves 12-16.


Original Ingredient:

Replace With:

whip topping

canned whipped cream, rice whip,  soy whip, or  mix/whisk heavy whipping cream

sweetened condensed milk

 Blend 4 oz silken tofu, ¼ cup soy milk, and ¼ cup granulated

sugar or maple syrup all together until smooth.

graham cracker pie crusts

gluten-free pie crust mix or vegan graham cracker pie crusts

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Italian-style Balsamic Quesadilla Cooking Demo with Chef Walter – WVLT Channel 8


2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-size pieces

4-5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

salt and ground black pepper to taste

1 diced red onion

¼ – ½ lb chopped cremini mushrooms

¼ lb deli-sliced pepperoni, cut into small pieces

¼ – ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1-2 chopped green onions

1-2 cloves grated/chopped garlic

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (1 tsp dried)

1-2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

1-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

4 whole wheat tortillas


  1. Preheat quesadilla press (if using one).
  2. Brown chicken in stovetop skillet over medium-high heat with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil.  Allow chicken pieces to release from skillet before turning them to cook the other side.  Sprinkle in salt and pepper.
  3. Once chicken has almost browned, mix in onion and mushrooms until tender.
  4. Then add pepperoni to skillet and mix all together.  Reduce heat to low.
  5. In a small bowl, add balsamic vinegar, mustard, 3-4 Tbsp olive oil, green onions, garlic, and parsley.  Mix well.
  6. Brush mixture with basting brush/pastry brush onto one side of all tortillas.
  7. On half of each tortilla, sprinkle half the cheeses.  Then spoon chicken and vegetables on top of cheese.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  8. Fold over the other half of each tortilla onto the cheese and press to close.
  9. Cook each quesadilla in a quesadilla press, microwave, or skillet until cheese is melted.  If cooking in skillet, lower heat to low- to medium.  Then, flip halfway through cooking process to brown each side of tortilla.  Serves 4.



Original Ingredient:

Replace With:

chicken breasts

boneless skinless chicken thighs, steaks, pork, portobello

mushrooms, eggplant, or extra firm tofu

extra-virgin olive oil

vegetable oil, butter/margarine, or dairy-free margarine

red onion

yellow or white onion

cremini mushrooms

any type of mushrooms

deli-sliced pepperoni

packaged pepperoni, thinly sliced soy-based pepperoni,

pancetta, prosciutto, salami, or pastrami

green onions


garlic cloves

⅛ – ¼ tsp garlic powder or ½ tsp minced garlic


chervil, cilantro, arugula, or basil


any type of shredded cheese or soy-based cheese

whole wheat tortillas

flour tortillas or gluten-free tortillas


chef’s tips

- Clean mushrooms by wiping with a damp paper towel.  Don’t rinse under water.

- Do not salt mushrooms until after browning them.  Salt draws out the moisture from the mushrooms and slows down the cooking process.

- To maintain freshness, wash herbs immediately when you bring them home from the store.  Dry off and store wrapped up in paper towels in a Ziploc® Brand Bag in refrigerator.

- To maintain freshness, gently wash and dry basil.  Place in a jar or vase with water, or store in a cool location away from direct sunlight.  Do not refrigerate.

- Simply grate garlic with a zester/grater to make garlic paste.

- Alternate way to make garlic paste: peel and finely chop garlic, add a pinch or two of salt on top of garlic, and rub garlic repeatedly with both sides of knife.

- Rub fingers on stainless steel underneath water to remove garlic smell from hands.

- Mashing/cracking garlic first allows for easier peeling.

- Place dried herbs in mortar and pestle and gently crush to draw out flavor.  If you do not own a mortar and pestle, gently rub herbs with both hands.

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Cooking Demo with Chef Walter

This is the cooking demo with Chef Walter that I did on December 19, 2011.  Chef Walter has his own cooking segment on WVLT Channel 8 Noon News everyday in Knoxville.  He asked if I would come and cook with him.  We made my Provolone Pepperoni Pepper Panini from Be Your Own Chef.


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Live at Five at Four Cooking Demo

This is the cooking demo from Live at Five at Four Channel 10 News Knoxville.  Aired on December 19, 2011.  We made the Angelic Layered Holiday Dessert from Be Your Own Chef cookbook.


Hampton Roads Show Cooking Demo

On November 3rd 2011,  I was on The Hampton Roads Show on WAVY Channel 10 doing a cooking demo.  I made 2 recipes from my cookbook Be Your Own Chef: Taco Pizza and Homemade salsa.

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