Making a wreath out of grape leaves is easier than stuffing grape leaves and makes a stunning showpiece for entertaining.
Grape Leaf Wreath
2 ½ cups of prepared rice (leftover white rice is fine)
½ cup lemon juice
1 cup olive oil
Fresh oregano, chopped to taste
Roasted red peppers, diced to taste
Fresh basil, chopped to taste
Salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Jar of grape leaves
1. Carefully unwrap the whole grape leaves and arrange in a bundt cake pan starting at the bottom of the pan so that the entire surface is covered. Leave a bit of the grape leaf hanging over the pan so that it can later be folded. Set pan aside.
2. The rice should be at room temperature or cool when mixing the ingredients. Mix lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, red peppers, and basil to make the dressing. Add ½ of the dressing to the rice and stir to blend.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Crumble the feta cheese in the rice mixture and stir. Add the remaining dressing.
5. Carefully spoon the rice mixture in the bundt pan and pack it firmly to make a mold with the rice. You can reserve half of a cup of the rice mixture as a garnish.
6. Cover the rice with the grape leaves by folding them to close the “mold”
7. I like to place some weight on the mold (like lemons or eggs) to press it down firmly.
8. Refrigerate overnight.
9. Flip over the bundt pan on a serving platter to unmold. Place the leftover rice mixture in the center of the mold and garnish with a little lemon juice and basil.
P.S. I also had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger, the sweet, M.L.G. of the Pink Washingtoniette. She's a true doll and is the sweetest hostess. If you don't already follow M.L.G., you should read her blog here.