I’m bound and determined to get through the pile of cookbooks that I’ve been sent, so I’ll be reviewing one a week until the pile has diminished.


Last week, I told you about “Quinoa Cuisine.” Up this week is “Farmstead Chef” by John Ivanko and Linda Kivirist. John and Linda are the owners of the wind- and solar-powered Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast outside Monroe, Wisc., that serves vegetarian cuisine harvested mostly from the inn’s organic gardens.


The “Farmstead Chef” cookbook is not solely vegetarian, but the emphasis in the book is certainly on vegetables, fruits and whole grains, with a few recipes that include beef, chicken or pork sprinkled in.


I chose to make Warm Zucchini Dip from the book. I know zucchini is not in season yet, but the recipe appealed to me. It’s full of some of my favorite fresh vegetables — zucchini, bell peppers and green onions. It’s delicious, and I can imagine that when all those vegetables are in season locally this summer, the dip will taste even better.


Warm Zucchini Dip



  • 2 cups fresh zucchini, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup bell peppers, finely chopped (I used a mixture of orange, red and yellow)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil or non-stick spray for preparing the pan
  • Pita chips and sliced raw vegetables for dipping


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Toss the zucchini and the salt in a large bowl. Let sit for an hour to extract the water from the zucchini. (There will be a lot of water.)
  3. Drain the zucchini and squeeze out any excess water.
  4. Mix the mayonnaise, yogurt, cheese, peppers, green onions, garlic and Worcestershire sauce until well combined.
  5. Prepare an 8-inch baking dish by lightly oiling it with canola oil or coating with non-stick spray.
  6. Spread the dip evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bubbly.
  7. Serve hot with pita chips and a variety of fresh, raw vegetables for dipping.

I’ve never used yogurt in a hot dip before. It gave it a nice tangy flavor, but not one that screamed, “There’s yogurt in this dip.” The use of half yogurt instead of all mayonnaise significantly cuts down on the fat in the dip. This recipe is definitely a keeper.


“Farmstead Chef” includes more than 100 recipes for breakfast, bread, soup, side dishes, sauces, salads, appetizers, main dishes, desserts, drinks, and a special section dedicated to the favorite recipes of the authors’ sons.


With local produce just starting to arrive in my area, I’m looking forward to trying a few other recipes from the cookbook in the upcoming weeks including:

  • Rhubarb Cream Bars
  • Cheese Roasted Asparagus
  • Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake
  • Frittata of Leeks

The authors have a few of the recipes from “Farmstead Chef” online, so you can check out others to see the variety.


Interviews with others associated with local, sustainable foods, sidebars on food storage, tips on frugal home cooking, information on pantry stocking, and more are positioned throughout the chapters, making this more than just a cookbook.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Cookbooks to try: 'Farmstead Chef'
The owners of a self-reliant homestead and a bed & breakfast have collected some of their best recipes in a cookbook for all seasons.