One of the best meals my mom made when I still lived at home was a tex-mex dish that consisted of crispy taco shells filled with spiced mince, crisp iceberg lettuce, diced tomatoes, creamy crème fraîche, fresh salsa, and grated cheese. Loads and loads of grated cheese. And once I had moved out, I regularly made this exact same dish in the kitchen of my student flat. I loved it a lot. But I have to admit that it wasn’t really that hard to recreate my mother’s recipe, because we lived at the height of the packaged-food-era, which made sure that every single time I made it, the food tasted exactly the same. A comforting thought when you crave your mothers food, but live two hundred kilometres apart. In that time I wasn’t allergic to onion and garlic powder, numbers one and two flavouring ingredients in pretty much every pre-packaged food in the supermarket. Just for the fun of it, take notice of it while grocery shopping. Nowadays I can skip about 75% of the supermarket, which makes grocery shopping fairly easy.
In the last couple of years I fiddled around trying to recreate the spice mixture from that specific packet. But that resulted in many flavourless or too spicy meals. And sometimes I ended up with something that didn’t even remotely resemble taco spices. I almost gave up, but last week I decided to give it one more try (but – let’s be honest – if it hadn’t worked out I would have tried for another 86 times). That attempt resulted in the spice mix for this recipe. It doesn’t compare to the pre-packaged spice mixture, but it does slightly resemble it, and it tastes really good. And for me, that’s what it’s all about. Although this was an attempt to recreate my mother’s taco recipe, I turned it into a salad. When I’m at home I don’t mind messy food, but on the go I prefer to eat with a fork. Also, to make it a more satisfying meal, I added cooked millet. A grain fairly neutral in flavour, but packed with nutritional value. And gluten-free. In case you find a container more convenient than a glass jar, put the avocado and crème fraîche at the bottom. Otherwise they will dry out. And a last note on bringing this salad for lunch: it’s best to bring the tortilla chips in a separate container. That way they’ll stay nice and crispy. Enjoy your lunch!
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