This whole food cod liver, rice (or cauli-rice) with eggs tucked in your favorite wrap lettuce can be served as a breakfast item, lunch or snack. These puppies are incredibly nutrient-dense this is.
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Culture shock doesn't even begin to explain our experience when we took a family trip to Russia two summers ago. We had a great time, no doubt but it was definitely different from what I envisioned.
The people. The scenery. The public transportation system.
The food. My goodness, was the food ever that good?! Now, I know Russia bans GMO food, but their food was top notch without any label requirements, red tape bureaucracy or conglomerate monopoly. It was pure, true, real, whole food - just the way it should be.
Part of our itinerary was to spend a week sunbathing and swimming in the salty Black Sea in Sochi. The plan was to travel together with my sister-in-law and her family, with whom we were staying during most of our visit.
After a painful day's worth of driving on awful, cobbled, graveled roads - we arrive to our destination at a hotel that doesn't have air conditioning and at a time that is supposedly a severe heat wave. They claim it's never this hot. They say this is the hottest summer ever. But this California girl loves her air conditioning and when I wasn't cooling off at the sea or the hotel pool, I was miserable.
But the funny thing is, when we reminisce about our 2014 trip to Russia, we only have warm and fuzzy feelings. While I remember the heat (no Californian can forget), what I mostly remember was the delicious and nutritious food, including many nutrient-dense offal (organ) cuts.
What I remember was frequenting this quaint Armenian café (because restaurants in Russian are actually called café) where we indulged in homemade, home cooked, farm to fork, good quality food.
Most of their food was brought in from local farms so the nutritional value was exceptional. Sheep graze on lush grass in many parts of Southern Russia and that area in general is a lucrative farming community. Milk came from pastured cows from a local dairy farm. And it was clear that the eggs were just as nutritious.
No "Organic" Labels
In Russia, there's no such thing as "organic" for mostly everything is organic. In fact, we would get a kick out of reading labels on foods because even American brands like Hershey's and Kraft had to make specific foods for Russia that excluded GMOs.
As with most people who travel to Europe, I tolerated wheat just fine in Russia, likely because it has not been hybridized as it is here. Even their junky sodas were made with sugar not corn syrup.
We were so carefree with our food choices in Russia - I forgot what it was like to just enjoy food without scrutinizing labels and getting to the source of a particular animal product. We just relished all the food.
I wish it didn't have to be this hard to nourish our bodies in America, the land of the free. The country with so many opportunities. But alas, that is our reality and since my blog isn't about food politics, I bring to you this delicious salad that we first tried in Sochi.
Cod Liver as in Whole Food
What caught my eye as I was glazing the menu with my heat-stained eyes in Sochi, was cod liver. I know most in the crunchy community are familiar with cod liver oil as a supplement even though there has been some debate regarding rancidity and potency of a certain brand.
But here, we're using whole food cod liver. As in cod liver, period. No oil following the cod liver. I think I've gotten so used to saying cod liver oil to my kids (in reference to supplement) that it almost feels like the word oil needs to follow cod liver. Cod liver....oil. It just doesn't roll off the tongue all that well, without the oil.
Wording issues aside, whole food cod liver is an excellent source of Omega 3, Vitamins A and D and is the most natural way to consume cod liver. This brand can be found in Russian and European deli marts as well as on Amazon and is the best flavor, by far.
The cod comes from Norwegian Sea and is packed in its' own oil with only two ingredients: cod liver and salt. I've tried other brands before, even those in glass jars, this brand still gives the best flavor. For reference, it can be found at a Russian market for $5 per can so Amazon's prices aren't that far off. As always, a balanced approach makes sense when it comes to canned seafood, or seafood in general.
Whole food cod liver has an almost buttery flavor, it's not too fishy if consumed shortly after opening and has a very pale brown look to it. The oil should be clear and golden and can be reserved to use in salad dressings or as a supplement. Before our trip to Sochi, the only way I knew how to eat cod liver was spread on toast. Since going gluten free, I've stopped buying canned cod liver but it hadn't occurred to me to actually make something out of it.
Notes about the Recipe:
Originally, this was a salad that used white rice in place of cauliflower and in true Russian style, was drenched in mayonnaise. And I love mayonnaise as much as any Slavic-blooded cook, but the dill and yogurt is a refreshing touch. I love spooning this onto butter lettuce leaves and drizzling that yogurty dressing. But you could just as well eat it with a spoon and top with mayonnaise. Or ditch the mayonnaise and yogurt, and just add another teaspoon of the cod liver oil to make totally dairy free compliant.
Also, to keep it grain free for a healing diet like GAPS, go with cauliflower but if you are looking for something a little more substance, add 2 cups of cooked white rice. I've done both and both ways are delicious.
Are canned cod liver something you would try?
Cod Liver, Rice & Eggs Lettuce Wraps
Cod Liver, Rice & Eggs Lettuce Wraps
- ½ head of cauliflower OR 2 cups cooked white rice
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1 <a href="http://amzn.to/1TksbqB" target="_blank">canned cod livers</a>
- 3 sprigs green onion
- 1 t <a href="http://amzn.to/1QCa9Kt" target="_blank">celtic sea salt</a>
- lettuce leaves: radicchio or butter lettuce are both great
- 3 sprigs fresh dill
- ½ full fat yogurt make your own <a href="http://www.prepareandnourish.com/2014/11/homemade-yogurtkefirairan/" target="_blank">here</a>
- ¼ t <a href="http://amzn.to/1QCa9Kt" target="_blank">celtic sea salt</a>
- Shred or rice cauliflower. Shred eggs. Finely chop <a href="http://amzn.to/1TksbqB" target="_blank">canned cod livers</a>. No need to strain them before hand as that oil will hold this mixture together but you don't need the entire can of oil - I find that whatever is on the livers as you pull them out is sufficient.. Chop and add green onions, <a href="http://amzn.to/1QCa9Kt" target="_blank">salt</a> and combine well.
- In a small cup, combine dill, yogurt and <a href="http://amzn.to/1QCa9Kt" target="_blank">salt</a> together. I like to use the <a href="http://amzn.to/1QCanRU" target="_blank">immersion blender</a> to get a nice consistency.
- Spoon the livers and egg mixture onto leaves and plate. Drizzle yogurt dressing over the lettuce wraps. Enjoy immediately.
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