Mediterranean stuffed grape leaves

Parboil 1 cup grains or leave quicker-cooking grains raw. Combine with 1 cup fillings (any combination you like) and seasonings to taste. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and let the fillings marinate while you prepare the leaves.
Buy jarred grape leaves, or trim the thick stems and veins from fresh grape leaves, fig leaves, cabbage, collards or kale; you want about 35 leaves altogether. Blanch the leaves in boiling water until pliable, then blot them dry with paper towels. Line the bottom of a pot with a few leaves.
Stuff each remaining leaf with about 1 tablespoon filling, roll and stack them in the pot. Add water or stock to barely cover the rolls, and add a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Bring almost to a boil, then cover and simmer until the filling is tender, 15 to 20 minutes for couscous and bulgur, 25 minutes for quinoa, 30 minutes for parboiled farro and brown rice, 45 minutes for white rice. Let cool, then remove and serve. 

Yield: About 30 rolls (6 to 8 appetizer servings).

While not difficult, rolling up all these tiny packages is certainly a project. But they keep fairly well in the fridge — just store them in their cooking liquid, fishing them out as needed. I typically make the biggest batch that I can stand and aim for leftovers throughout the week.

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