Easy moist pan seared salmon

I enjoy eating salmon so much that I prepare it when I am at home 3-4 times a week.  This is an easy way to make salmon that will come out moist every time.  You can add flavors of your favorite dried herbs like dill, basil, oregano etc.  The picture on the left is inspiration for how you can make a salmon dish work.  This one has braised Brussels sprouts and some tomato chutney.  I hope you enjoy this quick and easy salmon recipe.


2 4-6 oz pieces of salmon

4 oz of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of dried oregano or thyme

2 tablespoons of olive oil


Take a plastic zip lock back and place all the ingredients in it and close it and place it in the refrigerator for 1/2 or more.  Pull the fish out 20 minutes prior to cooking.  Over medium high heat on a non stick saute pan, place the salmon flesh side down first, ( the side that has no scales).  Cook for 4-5 minutes then carefully turn over to the other side. Continue to cook for 4 more minutes or until the fish is cooked to your liking. This method will produce a medium well fish. Remove from the pan and allow to rest covered with foil for 5 minutes.  Serve on top of black beans.  For recipe click here.


Keeping up with the Hernandez’s



Everyone has a family, we fight, annoy each other, say things we don’t really mean but when it really counts, we all love each other.


The past two months I have had my mom and dad staying with us for over two months.  It was so much fun.  I love having them around. I am not saying that there weren’t some challenging moments but that is what makes us alive.


This past week I had my older brother and his family visit me.  My parents had no idea that they were going to stay with us for a week.  It was a surprise for my mom.  This was the first time my brother and his family has visited me in Atlanta.



Since I am a chef, I work odd hours so on the day my brother and his family arrived, I just had finished working.  I was still in my chef whites. About a half hour prior to their arrival, I had told my parents that I wanted to take pictures outside of the house for me to have memories of their visit.

In reality, my brother was several minutes away. My parents and I took countless pictures and then my brother’s car pulled into the drive way.

My mother was surprised! and we had the best time! The next day they wanted to go to CNN.   I called one of my producer friends at CNN Español and she took us to the studio and I showed my family where I do the cooking segments on Cafe CNN.

My Nieces were able to see how the studio works and how small the sets are in real life.



It was fun to see them getting behind the cameras and taking pictures of themselves!   I was glad that the producer facilitated this whole experience for me.



I was also able to cook with my two nieces.  We made pizzas from scratch one night and they liked putting their own toppings and baking their own pizzas.  We also made my coveted fried chicken.  Crispy and moist.



Five days later, we had an Arroz con Pollo Party.  I invited lots of my friends to enjoy pure unadulterated Cuban food.  My father volunteered to make the food and I was glad that we had another chef in the family.




My mom who does not like to cook even got into the action of posing for my camera.  She says that she can go on Top Chef and beat all those chefs on the show.  I think my mom is cute.








We had lots of people at my house.  I think I invited 14 people. I thought it was funny when you mention Cuban food to friends in Atlanta, they come running and their bring friends.



Over all a wonderful trip with my whole family.  The only person that was missing was my little sister and it was because she was working.





Life Saver Gummy Pops




8-10 oz of Kettle One Vodka

7 oz bag of Life Savers Gummy


Put all the Life Saver Gummy in a 8 x 8 glass baking dish or a glass bowl, pour the Kettle One vodka and make sure that the vodka is covering all the Life Savers.  Cover tightly with plastic and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 12 -18 hours.  Then remove them a cookie sheet, and allow to dry for about 20-30 minutes.  Carefully take toothpicks and pierce the Life Savers.  When you are done place them on a tray and serve.  To read the original post click here.

Kettle One vodka Life Saver gummy pops





I have been researching ideas for a party. I wanted to have something that is like a jello vodka shot but is different and sort of brings back memories of childhood.  I never had Gummy Bears when I was little but I did love popping the Life Saver hard candy in my mouth.  My favorite was the red ones and the green ones.  If you are 21 years of age or over, you may like this recipe.


I needed to buy the Gummy Life Savers and soak them in vodka.  I needed to test out how long it needs to soak and then test to see if they will stay on the tooth pick without falling.  The worst thing that can happen is bringing them out to friends and then having the vodka soaked Life Saver fall off the tooth pick.

I put all the Life Savers in a bowl, filled the bowl with Kettle One vodka.  I covered it with plastic and put it in the refrigerator over night.  It stayed in the refrigerator for 18 hours.

The next day I pulled the life savers and I tried to stick the tooth picks through them but they were falling off the sticks or they were breaking apart.  I realized that I needed to allow them to dry out a little or soak them for a less amount of time.

I took several Life Savers out of the liquid and put them out on a plate to dry for about 30 minutes. I carefully put them on tooth pics and they stayed perfectly on the tooth picks.   They all tasted great and you can taste the smooth Kettle one at the end.


The orange tasted like a screwdriver and the red ones tasted close to a cranberry juice with vodka.

I had a chef friend and her husband staying with us over the weekend so when they woke up for breakfast, we were all tasting them and the feedback was positive.


As we had breakfast and the Life Savers dried we tasted several others and we noticed that as the Life Savers sat on the plate, I began tasting the different flavors.  What I noticed was that the warmth was gone when you tasted it even though it still had that Kettle One flavor.


To solve this problem, I took a spray bottle and I lightly sprayed them while they were on the tooth picks.  My friends and I pulled several of the life savers of their stands and the problem was solved.  So for a party I can soak these the day before and assemble them the day of the event and then lightly spray them before serving them.

Another wonderful discovery is that all the vodka that was left in the bowl was a sweet vodka liquid.  Being a chef, I like to try to use everything I can in the kitchen and not waste anything when possible.

My friends husband said, “Chef Alexis, why don’t you use that liquid to sweeten iced tea?  You live in Atlanta and they love sweet tea, so why don’t you think of using it to sweeten something?”


I thought that my friend had a great idea!  So now I have a cool amuse-bouche to serve to guests but the sweetened Kettle One vodka liquid was perfect for a Life Saver vodka iced tea that immediately enjoyed on our decks looking our at our fields.


If you want to try them click here for the recipe.




Chef Alexis Hernandez opening a new restaurant in Atlanta?


I have avoided this issue for many years.  I have been encouraged by my family to consider opening up a small restaurant.  The idea has caused numerous frustrated conversations because I am not completely sure that I want to be tied down a large part of my day working on my feet, lifting heavy pans, solving staffing problems, dealing with irate customers all for the personal satisfaction of saying, “I am a chef and welcome to my restaurant.”   Since I have moved to Atlanta, I have been asked,” What restaurant are you a chef at?”  I respond by letting them know that I cook for large parties and events.  It seems that the next progression for me is to have a place where I can express myself and allow people to see what I am about.  The last four years has been a time of change in my life.  Since my time on the competition show on Food Network and Cafe CNN, I have been privately thinking about opening a small place of my own.  Something that is small and that I can control and make great!

There are lot’s of components that go into a successful business, I am not naïve to think that food will be the one thing that will ensure success for a restaurant.  Food is about 20% of the equation, with location, service, interior etc that make up the rest of the equation. I have worked at restaurants in my professional life and it is a hard business.  There are lots of things to manage that do not have long shelf lives.  You have lots of inventory that ages quickly, payroll, food costs and the myriad of other things that are critical to making a business successful.  Over 10%-20% of new restaurants fail in the first year, it is not something that I take lightly.  


Earlier this year, I pulled out of the library my “secret” files of menus that I have developed over the years.  I must confess that even though I was not interested in pursuing opening up a new restaurant, that I did fantasize about how my menus would look each season.  No one was aware of this except myself and my two dogs, Titina and Jane.



I decided that I would take a look at spaces around my neighborhood that would be good to look at to open a very small restaurant.  I found a place that was a little  too expensive for my business model but I decided to see it any way since it has been vacant for almost 2 years.  It needs a lot of work and it has no ovens or stoves which means that I would have to purchase the fixtures and install them.




The space is pretty much a large box and would fit a good 25-30 tables.  The entrance to the restaurant has enough space for people to enjoy cocktails at the  bar.   I am not completely in love with the space because it is not “restaurant” ready but it is still a good-looking space with over 23 parking spaces.  I am going to continue to slowly look at places and see what can fit into a worst case business model because you can always deal with success right?!





Smoked pulled pork

This morning I am starting to smoke 98 lbs of pork shoulder.



It’s not easy to smoke meat the right way but the end result is gratifying to both the soul and the tummy. I smoked the pork with pear wood from a pear tree that I have in my one acre garden. It’s a sweet smoke and perfect for this application.


I smoked it outside on my electric grill for 14 hours.