Eddie McNamara was a Port Authority police officer who was part of the rescue and recovery team for nine months at Ground Zero after 9/11. Afterward, he tells me:
PTSD, panic and retirement from the force followed. I was retired (not by choice) at 29 and had to begin a part two. I enrolled in culinary school, took some writing classes, started putting recipes up on a tumblr site for free, and here I am, doing something I never thought I would: trying to make vegetables entertaining.
McNamara has a new cookbook out named after his online site: “Toss Your Own Salad: The Meatless Cookbook with Burgers, Bolognese and Balls.” As the cheeky title indicates, McNamara has more than a bit of, um, brio to his persona, and the book is full of asides that, aside from being entirely unnecessary, will amuse some and aggravate others, including:
- 3/4 cup olive oil (Not extra virgin — use the cheap, slutty kind.)
- Use all-purpose flour or whatever hippie flour you like.
- The only people who get excited about macaroni salad are Hawaiians, and they think Spam is food.
- Without Greece, the world wouldn’t have democracy, grouchy diner owners, feta cheese, George Michael (RIP) … and Arianna Huffington. Just try to imagine a world without HuffPo and their awesome paying-writers-with-exposure-not-money policy. That’s not civilization, which the Greeks will tell you they also invented.
But a number of the recipes look appealing, and a few of them will be offered as specials at Little Pecks café and Lucas Confectionery wine bar, both in Troy, this weekend, when McNamara will be doing a talk and book-signing at Market Block Books (11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, 290 River St., Troy). McNamara is an old friend of the restaurants’ co-owner Vic Christopher. I’m told the specials will be grilled-peach panzanella with tomato, feta and celery heart, and Sicilian cauliflower salad with pine nut, raisin, olive, caper and blood orange.
Today’s giveaway is a copy of the book (248-page full-color trade paperback, $19.99). The winner will be chosen at random from comments posted below that answer the question in the next paragraph. Comments that don’t answer the question will be deleted. One comment submitted per person. Multiple answers from same person/email address disqualifies all from that person. Contest closes at noon Thursday (8/24).
The winner will also get one of the featured McNamara salads, but a visit to Little Pecks or Lucas Confectionery on Friday or Saturday is required.
Question: What vegetarian or vegan recipe of yours has been acclaimed by your guests as being as good as anything with meat in it?