Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food


Our good friend John over at Tattoo Artist Magazine has been so supportive of our blog! When I heard he wanted to share a recipe with us, I was stoked. John is quite a foodie, and with traveling to so many conventions, he enjoys some of the finest dining with some of the best tattooers in the world!

Brynne Palmer- How long have you been involved with Tattoo Artist Magazine (TAM) and the tattoo industry?

JohnDotCom- So I started in 2005-2006 at Taylor St. Tattoo… and then I started freelancing and doing tat cons for TAM in 2007, maybe? I met Crash through Keith at SXSW one year… and I just went right up to Crash and said, “Hey dude, I kinda went to school for journalism and I noticed a lot of spelling errors in TAM…” Ha ha! Subtlety is not my strong point. I think he was kinda offended at first, but I just told him I really wanted to help and really believed in what he was doing…

The first issue of TAM I ever worked on was issue #13… The Scott Harrison article to boot. Talk about a rough way to cut your teeth… Scott, I had met through Keith and at that time I was pretty intimidated by him because he’s so damn smart! Ha ha!

Yeah, so I thought Scott was just going to hate my edits and I was scared that I would never get another gig with the magazine… But then after that I kinda bounced around, followed Keith to Texas, got my ex-fiance arrested, partied and head-butted with Tony Hundahl (these are two unrelated AND related events) and then I decided it was time to leave Texas… for good. (Don’t worry she got out of jail.)

After only six months in Texas, I moved back to Chicago and started going to grad school at DePaul… I got my job back at Taylor St. Tattoo, got fired… and then re-hired again… Ha ha! When I write it all out it seems like this is some other dude’s life because it sounds so “unbelievable” even to myself…

After grad school I started working for TAM full-time… So almost about eight years I’ve been involved with the tattoo community/family…

BP- In your travels, do you have any standout culinary experiences of fond food related memories?

JDC-Totally! Joining the “T-Bone Club” that Hanky Panky (Henk Schiffmacher) started years ago, that was the best… Mostly because I have been vegetarian/pescatarian for most of my “adult” life…

Henk had a rule that you couldn’t work at his shop in Amsterdam (back in the day) unless you ate the biggest steak on the menu at De Klos, which is this fuckin’ amazing magical meat palace in Amsterdam. So I said “fuck it” threw caution to the wind and my stomach and dove it steak knife first! Done and done… Lucky Bastard or Danny Dringenberg, or someone was trying to do the kilo to ounce ratio on their phone… but it was the first time I had eaten meat in 15 years and it was like 76 oz… or some shit! I lived to tell the tale… I still don’t eat meat. It didn’t “convert” me or anything… but damn it was pretty fucking good and I’ll do it again, but only overseas. Why rob yourself of the experience of trying delicious foreign foods? Makes no sense to me…

BP- Haha! What a rad story! What is your favorite style of food, and what do you enjoy cooking at home?

JDC- I’ll cook anything really… I like cooking for the seasons. So in the winter I eat a lot of carbs: bread, pasta… The pizza in my city (Chicago) is pretty good if you ain’t heard? HA! So when the weather warms up I start to eat lighter, more veggies and grilling… BBQ-ing veggies and fish is the summer jam for me… But I would say that I try to make food that is gonna last me several meals and can be easily transported, so I can take food to the tat shop. I’ve eaten at every place around Taylor St. Tattoo, and it’s in Little Italy, so there are some pretty good places to eat over there… I’m just over it. I stay pretty busy so I need to make stuff I can just heat up and go.

Breakfast is my favorite meal EVER! I had breakfast for all three meals in one day once! I had to experience it… Let me be the first to tell ya… IT WAS AWESOME!

I like all styles of cooking and food. I guess I’ll try anything once when it comes to food…

John’s Vegetarian/Vegan Chili and Corn Bread

(Secret to good chili; slow and low… The longer it takes the better it will taste.)
2-4 cans of craft beer from your hometown… Buy local!
1 large onion
3-4 pieces of garlic from clove
1 bunch on green onions
2-4 Jalapeños
1 yellow pepper
1 can of Tomato sauce
1 can of whole/diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 medium/large zucchini
1 8 oz. package of fake meat (optional)
2-3 tbsp. of olive oil (butter or veg. oil will work too)
Hot sauce (what ever you like) I chose Tapatio.
Various spices and accoutrements: chili power, cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, crushed rep pepper, salt, sugar, and cayenne pepper…

-Get your oil in a bigger cooking pot with lid and turn heat on low.
-Dice onion.
-Once the oil is up to temp (test by flicking one drop of water in pot… sizzle means GO!) throw in diced onion.
-Cover with lid and let it sit until they start to “sweat” real nice. Approx. 5-10 min.
-Stir and in add minced garlic (I suggest getting a garlic press, they are magical) pinch of salt and sugar… Let that sit on low for other 5 min.
-Add fake meat… don’t forget to stir.
-Add spices… everything but the cinnamon. I just kinda eyeball stuff here… if it needs more of something you can add it later after tasting. It’s chili not rocket science. Spice with common sense and your level of hot that you are willing to handle… I like shit spicy… so I add more cayenne pepper and red pepper.


-Cover and let the fake meat sit and absorb the spices 5-10 min.
-Add in can of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes and 1/3-cup water. Stir… cover with lid and let sit 5-10 min.

Drink beer. Relax.

-Taste sauce. Mine ain’t spicy. So I’m gonna add some salt and hot sauce. At this point the sauce should be slightly bubbling. Put lid on.
-Strain and rinse beans thoroughly and stir into sauce. Put lid on.
-Dice veggies. And add and stir into sauce. Increase heat to medium low. Let sit for 10-20 min.

*(If you don’t handle jalapeños with gloves… you can pour vinegar on your fingers and rub them together with a little water and then soap to get the oils off your fingers.)

At this point we can start the corn bread. Just be sure to check the sauce and adjust temp if need be…
-I really just follow the directions on the back of the box… The difference is that I spruce it up a bit.
-Turn oven on pre heat to 400. Get out a big mixing bowl and follow directions on the box…
-Once you have your corn beard mixture add one can of strained corn, 4oz. of shredded cheddar, one tsp of cream, 2 tbsps of honey and two finely diced jalapeños… stir really good and let sit 3-4 min.

-Check sauce add cinnamon, a little goes a long way. And turn temp to low before adding corn mixture to non-stick pan. Stir and put lid back on.

-Fill each mold half way… I use a ladle for portion control.
-Place in oven at 400. 20-25 min.

Drink Beer #2. Relax.

-Taste sauce, stir and adjust flavors while cornbread is baking… Place lid back on pot until bread is golden brown-ish…

-Take them shits out the oven… let cool 5 min. Then run a small spoon around the edges to remove.

-Garnish chili… (If you’re vegan don’t use the dairy)

Total cooking time 2-3 hours.

Serves about 6-10 peeps… or feeds one hungry magazine editor for a week…

Thanks for listening… Eat well, and prosper…

Once a week JohnDotCom features an artist from K&N on, be sure to check it out! Thank you John, for your recipe and all your support! MTFBWY, and see you at the next convention;)

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