Give the taco meat a rub

One of my favorites in college was the steak taco from Taco Bell. Actually Taco Bell was my first Tex Mex experience in the US and it was a lot different from when I got it served for the first time. I think it was 1986 or was it 87 and some friends of my parents served a meat sauce made with salsa in taco shells with lettuce, grated cheese and sour cream, it was not a hit.

30 years later there has been a lot of taco experiences since the taco Bolognese and Taco Bell is but a fond memory from the past. This recipe is my adaptation of the steak taco from Taco Bell.

Nice rib eye steaks rubbed with Fajita spice mix, use a ready made spice mix or make your own

Fajita spice mix

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
3⁄4 tsp crushed chicken bouillon cube
1⁄2 tsp onion powder
1⁄4 tsp garlic powder
1⁄4 tsp cayenne pepper
1⁄4 tsp cumin

Mix the spices, rub them on your steaks and grill them to your liking.

I served this with tortillas, lettuce, red onion, sour cream, avocado and pebre a chilean version of salsa.

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Vegetarian taco

As a student I found myself out of funds quite often and Taco Bell helped fill my tummy while I was waiting for my account to fill up again. If I remember correctly the cheapest on the menu was the refried bean burito til $ 0.59 elle 0.69. This was a simple meal consisting of a tortilla, refried beans and salsa.
Sometimes I get nostalgic and I get a hankering for something from my student days tortillas, refried beans and salsa, these days I add a little extra but not much.
I called these vegetarian, but i think these are vegan, since no animal products were used in the making of them.
 
For these simple tacos you will need
Tortillas
Refried beans, for recipe look HERE 
Pico de gallo, for recipe look HERE
Guacamole, for recipe look HERE
Sliced red onions
Corn
Sour cream
Simple and clean flavors
If you want you can probably buy everything ready made to make it easier and less time consuming, but if you make it you know what is in  it and fresh tasting.
There is no right or wrong to what you put in tortillas, eat them with what you want and enjoy.

Guacamole

Healthy yummy guacamole is also one of the must haves when we eat tacos in my household and it is so easy to make. You can make this avocado dish smooth or chunky depending on how you like it.

1 clove crushed garlic
Chopped chili as desired
2 ripe avocado
A half a handful of fresh coriander/cilantro
1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix garlic and chili in a bowl, add the avocado and mash it with a fork.
Add the cilantro, lime juice and salt and mix everything well.
Easy peasy to make, server together with tacos, nachos or tortilla chips

Refried beans

This is absolutely a must when eating Tex-Mex for dinner
Refried beans are Mexico’s equivalent to mashed potatoes and it is made of pinto beans.
The actual name is frijoles refritos meaning well fried beans. The Anglo name suggests that these beans are fried, but that’s not the case.
There are many different ways to make refried beans and you can use most kinds of beans, but in traditional Tex-Mex pinto beans are used.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2  large finely chopped onion
1 clove crushed garlic
800 g of cooked pinto beans or the kind you want to use.
1 teaspoon chili powder, may be omitted
1 dl vegetable stock / 1 cup water plus 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
Salt and pepper as desired.
Saute the onions in oil on medium heat until it is tender and add the garlic and chili powder.
crush this in a blender with the liquid.
Pour this back into the saucepan and add the beans and boil until the beans are warmed through. about 5 minutes.
Mash beans with a spoon, salt and pepper as desired.
You can also add chopped fresh coriander if you desire.
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Serve this bean puree with your favorite Tex-Mex, taco, burito, Chimmichanga, tostada, quesedilla etc.

Taqueria

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The Tex mex I got in California is whats closest to my heart. Every time I read about the new taco places that have been established in Oslo, I dream myself away to a time when I sat in the sun and got served pico-de gallo with homemade tortilla chips while waiting for my ordered.

My Boss and I went and tested Taqueria at Paleet in Oslo for lunch

Me: how would you classify the food you serve here, Tex mex, mexican mex?
Waiter: What do you mean?
Boss: You see she is a foodbloger.

Oh please someone hit me over the head with something hard and i just smiled and flushed. Yes I had to admit I wrote about food.

Waiter: Oh I see, it leans more towards the Californian style of coking what we serve here.
Me: Fun I have lived.

We order drinks while we try to decide what we want to eat. Ta difficult task for I would have loved to taste everything, so we asked the waiter what he would recommend

He suggested a the Taco Tasting platter with four different tacos and a quesedilla

When the waiter comes back with our drinks to our table, he places three different sauces the table, one tomatillo sauce, a tomato sauce and a Diablo sauce made of Habanero.
I was a little skeptical and this made me think of a time I was in Houston Texas and would taste different salsa from a local producer. “You should try this one, it is the same as what our toddlers eat” the lady at the store said with her southern twang. I tasted the toddler hot sauce and that was it, no more hot sauce for me that day.
I like spicy and hot, but I do not like pain a little tingle yes but not pain.
The waitress told us that there were tomatoes in the sauce, so it was not as strong as pure Habanero sauce he reassured us.I just had to test them, a teaspoon of each sauce.
I started from the right, the green first, then the red and finally yellow.
I had to take a huge breath after the yellow Habanero, it was reasonably strong, but I did not have to beg for milk.
The sauces were tasty and perfectly matched to the food.
We got two tacos in corn tortillas with delicious lobster salad, lime mayonnaise and crunchy fried onions and onechicken adobado, pico de gallo, manchego and oregano.
Two served in wheat tortillas with prawns, garlic, Habanero, mintslaw and tamarindsalsa and the other was with tender pulled pork, pineapple, red cabbage relish, onion and garlic chips
For our last dish we went vegetarian, quesedilla with Manchego, Portobello cream, truffle and corn.
I can not rally remember the food like this during my four years in California and
we concluded that Taqueria probably served a modern California Mexican menu, with little influence from around the world. Ha ha ha, I do not think truffle was something they had on their quesedillas at the Mexican cantina just across the road from the school I attended. Mint and tamarind are a combination I know from my favorite Indian restaurant in Hong Kong
Anyway, the food was delicious with interesting flavor combinations, but does not

recommend having Diablo sauce on everything. I think my taste buds were a bit shocked when I left that place.

I do not have any criticism or bombastic claims that this is not so and so because …. as some others have said about similar places in Oslo. Traditions are made to be broken, we evolve ,we explore and make use of the raw materials that are available.

Although I have lived in California for four years it does not mean that I am an expert on this type of food and besides, it was 22 years ago, things have changed over there just as it has done here at home.

Maybe we should call this Nouveau Mex instead 🙂

PS. I have googled the word after I wrote this post and it’s actually something called nouveau mex, ha ha ha and maybe a perfect description of Taqueria on Paleet in Oslo.