Eating Authors: Nicole Grotepas

2 comments Written on February 17th, 2020 by
Categories: Plugs
Nicole Grotepas

I am home from the hospital and easing into what will probably be at least three months of convalescence. I expect to be very frustrated by this as I have so much to do but the fog of chemobrain is, thus far, greatly limiting how much I can manage. At a minimum though, I should be able to post these weekly EATING AUTHOR features, and as proof here’s this week’s guest, Nicole Grotepas.

Nicole is another of the incredible Indie authors I met in Las Vegas last November. She describes her writing as coming from an uncommon starting point: surveillance, and how it affects not merely human behavior, but classic SF themes such as colonization, AI, and robots. In particular, the books in her series A Holly Drake Job are a charming blend steampunk and space opera. The fifth book, Birth of the Colossus, comes out on the 27th.

LMS: Welcome, Nicole. What stands out as your most memorable meal?

NG: The problem is that I love food–so it’s incredibly hard to choose!

But, what seems to stick with me the most ferociously are the meals that were made by someone I know, in their home.

Gears of Aether

So, basically, a meal that I’ve never been able to forget was this super casual affair in my cousin’s kitchen. His wife, who was from Mexico, prepared what she called traditional enchiladas.

My husband was there, though we had just started dating when this happened. Veronica prepared each enchilada individually. I don’t know that everything was made fresh, but I think it was — fresh pico de Gallo from ingredients grown in her garden. Or maybe in her window sill — something romantic like that (I romanticize everything, especially memories of amazing meals).

The startling thing for me was that the enchiladas were filled with potatoes (I realize now that this isn’t that crazy, but at that time for me, it was). She cooked each one in a small cast iron skillet, topped them with pico de Gallo, and some type of freshly grated white Mexican cheese, and then placed each finished enchilada on our plates.


It was very informal, and all of it was done as we stood around the stove talking to her as she cooked them. Stoker chatted in Spanish with her and she told us all about her process and where her family was from in Mexico. I had known Veronica for many years and had learned how to make salsa verde using her family recipe, but that might have been only the first or second time Stoker met Veronica.

Ever since then, I’ve been on the lookout for enchiladas made with potatoes. But I’ve never run into them or Veronica’s process for cooking them, which maybe isn’t that crazy. One reason I think it became even more singular and prized to me was because it blew my mind and further illustrated to me how important family recipes are in perpetuating family culture, as well as our social culture. When Stoker and I ended up getting married, Veronica gave us a cast iron skillet just like the one she cooked the enchiladas in.

Thanks, Nicole. I confess, I’m still trying to wrap my head around potatoes in enchiladas. It’s like the kind of evidence you note when you’ve stumbled into a parallel world that’s identical to your own except for one thing. Potatoes.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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2 comments “Eating Authors: Nicole Grotepas”

Have your Lady make this recipe as part of your R&R. I learned this years ago down in Nayarit state, just north of Puerto Vallarta.

Enchiladas Papas Doradas
4 cups diced Potato
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1-2 Poblanos and or Serranos diced
1 cup Nopalitos, diced
2-3 clove garlic
1 Roma Tomato, diced plus 2 Romas quartered
1 tsp Chicken soup base or bouillion cube
1/2 tsp each Cumin, Oregano, Black Pepper
1/4 cup Cilantro

On medium heat, fry the potatoes in a splash of EVOO for 15 minutes or so covered; turning to brown all sides. Add the onion, garlic and peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook another 5 minutes. Now add the diced tomato and cook a couple minutes more. Remove from heat, reserve.

In a blender combine the other tomatoes spices, chicken base and 1/4 cup water and spin until smooth. Transfer the sauce to the same skillet and ‘fry’ until it starts to thicken. Add the fried potatoes, nopalitos and cilantro cook until just warmed through.

Fill your tortillas and roll them and put them in a baking dish; top with enchilada sauce and cheese, and bake until the cheese melts!

I’ve found that homemade international food is ALWAYS better than anything you’ll get in a restaurant!

I’m jealous of those enchiladas… <3

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