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Okay guys, this is the second to last installment of my recipes for my Mediterranean Medley class, which will be held this Thurday night! What a way to kick off summer, eh? But do not fear, I have been signed on to teach 3 more classes – 2 in July and 1 already in August, with more to come. So I will be posting some of those recipes as I go along.

This is the recipe for my version of stuffed grape leaves. I think this is the 2nd recipe that I ever created myself. Almost every country in the Mediterranean (minus Italy, Spain, France and Portugal – I think, correct me if I am wrong) have their own version of stuffed grape leaves. Some are served hot, some cold. Some are meat, some vegetarian. Some contain sweet elements like raisins or currants, some are mostly savory. So I created my own version based on what I enjoyed about the various kinds I had tried over the years. These grape leaves have had many incarnations, but this has been my tried and true version of them for the past several years. They are fresh and full of crunch! Some of you purists who are used to mushy grape leaves may not approve, but I trust if you try them, you may change your mind! I served them with Fattoush Salad and Baklava Ice Cream Bites recipes for which I will be posting very soon! Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS:

20 grape leaves
1 cup short-grain rice
2 cups water
¼ cup pine nuts
¼ cup feta cheese
1 medium red onion
¼ cup fresh flat-leaved parsley
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs greek style plain yogurt
juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch of chives

1 cup tahini
¼ cup greek style yogurt
juice of one lemon
2 garlic cloves crushed

METHOD:

Soak the grape leaves in water to remove the brine. Place them on paper towels and press them with another paper towel to remove excess water.

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Cook the rice in water or stock for 12- 15 minutes. Let cool. (it is best to do this a day ahead)
Once rice is cool, mix in all other ingredients except for grape leaves in a large bowl and reserving 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp lemon juice.

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Place @ 1 tsp of stuffing onto the bottom end of each leaf. Roll the leaf up by folding in the outer edges and then roll up from the bottom.
Dip chives into boiling water for 1 minute to make them pliable. Tie a chive around each grape leaf.

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Place stuffed leaves into a small casserole dish drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of lemon juice over top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
While the grape leaves are cooking, place tahini, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice into a bowl and mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Dip grape leaves into tahini sauce.
Serve grape leaves warm or cold.
Serves 10 as an appetizer portion – 2 grape leaves per person