The Baking Soprano: Fasolakia


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The Baking Soprano by Maria Diamantis

With summer being around the corner, and everything turning from dull brown to bright green, I can’t help myself by singing to the tune of Bing Crosby’s, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas to my own lyrics: “I’m dreaming of a green summer!”
Something about the color green makes me smile. Budding trees with their new leaves, unfurling fern plants, thick fresh grass, yellow dandelion flowers, peony shrubs with their new shoots… ok I made my point of why I chose to do this recipe. Inspiration comes in many forms and colors. In my case: the color green and of course, growing up with this dish! Fasolakia (green string beans) is a traditional Greek peasant dish. My mother would regularly make this dish for us. It was a weekly staple in our home especially during the summer. My mom would often cook using the stovetop, avoiding using the oven in the summer heat as much as possible. If you try this, you won’t want to ever go back to plain steamed beans with butter (mmm butter).
This dish is best served with Feta cheese and bread. As seen in the picture, I served it with Mojicones which are sweet rolls …Colombian style! Naturally during the isolation, I did a lot of baking and happened to have leftover Mojicones in my freezer. How did Greece meet Colombia? I came about this food when Claudia Perez, the mother of my singing student, shared this recipe with me. She herself, being in the same predicament, was baking a lot too! I will be sharing with you the Mojicones recipe on the next North Shore News issue on June 12th while enlightening you about this Greco-Colombian match!
(Greek green beans with potatoes)

  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 1 spanish onion thinly sliced
  3. 2 cloves garlic chopped
  4. 1/2 – 1 lb green string beans
  5. 1-2 medium potatoes 1/4s chopped
  6. 2 tomatoes chopped
  7. ¼ cup chopped parsley
  8. ½ teaspoon sugar
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. Ground fresh pepper to taste
  11. Cinnamon stick or ground (optional)
    Instructions: (You will have to cut off the ends of the string beans, and wash them under cold water. If they are too long, you can cut them in half)
  12. In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil at medium to low heat. Sauté onion until soft. Add tomatoes.
  13. Raise the heat to high and add the potatoes until to boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for at least 5 more minutes. You may then add the parsley, sugar, cinnamon stick (optional), salt and pepper, then mix together.
  14. Add beans on top, let them steam for 10 minutes and then carefully mix until covered with the sauce and potatoes.
  15. Add hot water just enough to barely cover the beans. Let it go to a boil then simmer on low with the lid on for at least 1hr (do not stir, just shake the pot occasionally).
  16. Taste the beans for tenderness, if the potatoes are done and all the water is absorbed then the fasolakia are ready.
    Kali Orexi! Enjoy!