Cooking FAQs for Blue Zones Kitchen

Questions and Recipe Corrections

What is wrong with my sourdough?

The instructions in Blue Zones Kitchen are in Celsius and not Fahrenheit. We will correct this in future editions since the rest of the book is in Fahrenheit and apologize for the error. So start the bread at 450F, reduce to 390F, and then reduce again to 350F.

If dough seems too dry, add more water in small amounts at a time, until supple dough forms.

How do I store a sourdough starter?

Store it in the refrigerator in a container with a lid. It should be sealed as you would a pickle jar or other covered container.

The instructions for the Ikarian Winter Ratatouille say to set the oven to 350 degrees and cook cover for 15 minutes, then remove foil and cook for 10 more. The potatoes were undercooked and too hard. Is the temperature off? Are the instructions incorrect?

Since most of the photos in the book were taken on location, sometimes they differ from the recipe instructions. Often, the women sharing them did not follow written recipes, so measurements and ingredients were adjusted and tested later. Medium dice from the recipe instructions means cut into 1/2-inch cubes, which is about the size of a regular dice, and should bake in about 25 minutes. Increase cooking time if you find they are hard. Cut as they appear in the photo, they will need an additional 10-15 minutes of cooking time.

What are other uses for cashew cream?

Cashew cream is useful in everything from creamy soups to pasta sauces to puddings. Other flavor varieties:

Vegan sour cream: Mix cashew cream with a squeeze of lemon.

Cashew whipped cream: Combine with 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup.

Vegan Alfredo sauce: Add minced garlic, blend, and stir with salt and pepper to taste.

Caesar dressing: Mix with minced garlic and nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and black pepper.

How long does cashew cream last in the refrigerator?

Cashew cream lasts about 10 days in a covered container in the fridge.

The Spaghetti with Walnut Pesto does not have instructions for how to include the salt. When do I add it?

Add salt to the nuts, garlic, and parsley in the sauté pan. Also, salt and pepper and/or pepper to taste before serving.

Why are all-purpose flour and sugar included in the recipes?

There is nothing technically off-limits in a Blue Zones diet and sugar and flour are both used in some dishes and/or used in celebratory foods. What matters most is the staples of the diet which you eat the most often: beans, greens, whole grains, and nuts. If you choose to avoid sugar and/or all-purpose flour, then it is not difficult (and hopefully easy) when eating the Blue Zones way.

What are the instructions for using canned chickpeas in the Rosemary Baked Chickpeas recipe (page 211)?

If using dried chickpeas: Bring 6 cups water to a boil. Pour boiling water over chickpeas so the beans are just covered. Soak for 1 hour. Drain chickpeas from soaking water; boil in new water for about 20 minutes until soft. 

If using canned chickpeas, start here: Drain and then transfer chickpeas to a clay pot or heavy baking dish.