Chef Zissie Presents


Chef Zissie prepares for The Layers Project Magazine, “Four Perfect Olive Oil Salad Dressings For Channukah”

I feel very fortunate. Being a chef is a very handy profession, even when I am not “at work”. Everyone needs to eat and most people want to eat well.

My journey of becoming a chef and recipe creator evolved from wanting to understand flavor. Where I grew up, the spices that were most commonly were paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

I crave flavor. All flavors. As much flavor in one bite as possible.

The store-bought, sugary and trans-fatty salad dressings and sauces just don’t make the cut for me.

During my search for flavor, I discovered using pure ingredients.  I found that most people who claim to dislike particular foods have never tasted them cooked correctly.

It is so simple, almost mind-blowing, that if you use fresh, pure and high-quality ingredients, your food will taste better.

After culinary school, ( which focused mostly on French cuisine)  I forced myself to study and learn about the cuisines of the world; including, Indian, Thai, Moroccan, Persian, Italian, Mexican, Japanese and others.

It was only then that my taste buds felt complete. As a result, my recipes and menus are fusions of these flavors, using fresh herbs and spices, chili peppers and other such flavor bursting ingredients.

So much of cooking today has turned into opening jars and cans and pouring them onto food.  What if I were to tell you that if you took 5 more minutes, you could cook a dish that was healthier and beyond delicious?

We can start with the simple things in life, like a salad dressing.

Real extra virgin olive oil is purely natural and very high in antioxidants. Many of the lower quality olive oils are processed and mixed with cheaper oils.

I know that buying high-quality ingredients can be expensive and even intimidating, but if you fill your meals with more vegetables, proteins and higher quality oils and spices, you will feel like a new you.

In honor of Chanukah, where olive oil is the main ingredient and part of our ancient story, I decided to create 4 perfect salad dressings (and 1 salad recipe) for you to have year round in your fridge and serve this week with a side of latkes!


Tuscany white wine vinaigrette

  • 1 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Tuscany spice blend
  • 1 tablespoon honey (highest quality)

Shake well

Notes: Lasts up to 3 months (not in fridge)

Roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette

  • 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 of a cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons silan (date honey)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (pink Himalayan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450f. Bake covered for 45 minutes. Let fully cool. Place in jar and shake well.

Notes: Lasts 2 weeks in the fridge

Red wine basil vinaigrette

  • 1 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt (pink Himalayan)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey (highest quality)

Place in jar and shake well

Notes: lasts two weeks in the fridge

Lemon mustard dressing

  • 2 lemons freshly squeezed
  • 1 large clove of garlic, zested
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon whole grain mustard (highest quality)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (highest quality)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (pink Himalayan)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place in jar and shake well

Note: Lasts up to 1 week in the fridge


Better than a restaurant salad – Serves 4

  • 1/2 cup of pistachios
  • 1 cup sprouts (purple)
  • 2 cucumbers, chopped
  • 6 figs, quartered
  • 2 bell peppers, charred and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cup of baby spinach
  • 2 cups of butter lettuce

Bonus ingredients to add to the salad to make it more filling; chicken, salmon or cheese (fresh mozzarella and brie would be my top choices)

ALL of the dressings go great with this salad!!

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