Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the month “June, 2013”

Berry Nectarine Muffins

ImageSo I know its summer, and nobody likes baking in the summer. But I think these muffins will make you want to crank up the AC for a bit. I like them because this is the time of year for fresh fruit and what better way to enjoy it than piping hot and surrounded by Cake?!?!

 What you’re going to need is……..

-1 cup butter

-2 cups raw sugar

-4 eggs

-2 Tsp Vanilla extract

-4 cups unbleached flour

-1 cup milk

-4 Tsp baking powder

-1 Tsp salt

-4 to 5 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and nectarines (Chopped)

First you want to preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time. Then add the vanilla. Blend thoroughly.

Then combine your flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Alternately add the flour mixture and the milk into the sugar, butter and egg mixture. Last but not least fold the berries in and spoon into muffin tins. You can grease them first or use a non stick baking tin. 

Place them in the oven at 425 degrees for ten minutes. Decrease the temperature to 375 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Once they’re out you can serve them however you want. I like them still hot with ice cream. They’re not half bad with a Mimosa either! Enjoy!!!

If you have any great recipes or food tattoos you would like to share please send them to us at 🙂


Check our instagram this week for all your knivesandneedles goings-ons this week!! We will be back in July with all new stuff!!!!!!!!




Carrots are ancient, about 5,000 years ancient, originating from Egypt, Iran and Afghanistan. They spread through Africa, Arabia and Asia finally making it to Europe via ancient Greece and Rome of course. Carrots were originally grown for their fragrant flowers and leaves, not for their edible roots. You may not have recognized carrots in ancient times, as they were a variety of colors like yellow, purple, white, black, and red. Sometime in the 16th century, the Netherlands first started breeding the orange carrot (from red and yellow carrots) we know today in honor of the House of Orange, the national color for the Netherlands.

In ancient Greece carrots were not consumed as food, but used in medicines and as an aphrodisiac. They were eaten with olive oil in Rome and cultivated in Asia way before the Europeans.


In preparing carrots, scrub the skin instead of peeling it. Most of the nutritional value of the carrot is just below the skin, so peeling removes most of the health benefits. Also, this is a vegetable that you want to buy organic as the skin is very thin and you want to eat the skin.


Today, I am giving you all my carrot/ginger salad dressing. I learned it from my old master chef and I have used it for years. It is similar to the carrot/ginger dressing you probably find at your good ‘ol neighborhood sushi bar. This is just the fresh version, not the bottled one!


Carrot/Ginger Dressing

 4-6 large carrots, grated

2-4 large pieces of ginger, grated

2 large yellow onions, grated

1c Ponzu

1c Light soy sauce

¼-½c Salad oil


For salad dressing

 Grate the carrots, ginger and onion and add the ponzu and soy sauce. With a blender, slowly add the salad oil until everything is emulsified. Check taste and add more of any of the ingredients to taste.



 1-1½ c Lemon/yuzu juice (Japanese citrus fruit)

1piece Konbu (its large, thick seaweed sized about 4-5”x2-4”), singed on the stove over an open flame

1c Light soy sauce

1c Tamari soy sauce

1 handful of Bonito flakes (shaved, dried bonito fish)


For ponzu

 Singe the konbu over an open flame and immediately put all the ingredients together. Let it marinate for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Should last up to 3 weeks.


Thank you and enjoy!!

 Photo by Michelle Roberts


If you have a recipe or food tattoo, email us at


Tattoo Tuesday!!



Thank you Trevor Shields!!!!


Send us your food tattoos and recipes…  We would love to feature you!

Thank you and have a great day!!

Dominic Ramos!

Today we have the talented Dominic Ramos…

So read on!!


Hello my name is Dominic Ramos; I’m a cook who has obtained an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of San Antonio. I currently belong to a club that goes by the name Cutthroat Culinary. We are a worldwide group that believes in the passion of cooking. The passion of cooking, and tasting the most wonderful foods began immediately after I cooked my first egg at the age of six.

Molly: How long have you been a chef?

Dominic: I don’t consider myself a Chef, as a chef to me is a title that is earned, and may take many years to gain the respect required in being called a Chef. I am just a cook.

M: Where do you work now?

D: I own a food truck, Gourmet on the Fly. We have been in business for almost one year. I love being my own boss and I love that I make my own hours.


M: When did you start getting tattooed?

D: My first tattoo, along with several others, was a homemade one a cross and the word “mom” on my left hand. It was about 10 years ago when I experienced my first professional tattoo.

M: What was it and do you still have it?

D: My first professional tattoo was a dragon on the inside of my right arm, I do still have it, and it still looks new. I couldn’t believe that I was spending hundreds of dollars on a tattoo, but it was well worth a thousand dollars.

M: What is your favorite piece and why?

D: My favorite piece is my Chef tat. Two reasons why: first, it was a cover up and second it represents me.


What drew you to tattoos initially?

I think what drew me to tattoos was the fact that my body would be a walking canvas. I have always loved art. Most of all my tattoos are free hand. I didn’t want to have the same tattoo as anyone else or someone having the same tattoo as me.

M: Why do you think the tattoo industry and the culinary industry are so intertwined?

D: Well both industries have artist. The tattoo artist, his canvas is the body; to a Chef, the plates are his canvas. Both industries can create beautiful, Tasteful, and respectful art.


M: Have you noticed this correlation (or lack thereof) in your travels in other countries?

D: Yes I have.  I believe tattoos on Chefs and Artists are battle scars or small stories of their lives. Everyone has a story to tell.

M: Do you have a tattoo experience that stands out for any reason? Funny/sentimental?

D: As stated earlier about my favorite tattoo, which is the Chef one, was a cover up. I was a girls name on my arm.  Well, one of my favorite tattoo artists, Mike Adair, was going to be in Austin. I called him to setup an appointment to do a cover up. When we starting talking about what I wanted and where I wanted it; I showed him my arm with the girl’s name. He laughed and said, “I figured you would want that covered up.” It was his sister’s name and he was the one who tatted the name in the first place.

M: Any cooking advice for a novice?

D: Stay true to your heart. Your food will taste of happiness.


M: What recipe would you suggest for our readers?

D: I would say my Avocado Cilantro dipping sauce.

Dominic’s Avocado cilantro dipping sauce

4 Avocados (ripened)

1 bunch of Cilantro, trimmed

2 lemons, juiced

1 cup of sherry wine

1 tbsp of garlic powder

1 tbsp of onion powder

1 pinch of salt and pepper

4 tbsp of mayo

Place on ingredients in a blender or ninja. Chop or blend until all corporate. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve or chill covered.


Thank you Dominic!

If you have any food tattoo photos or recipes you would like to share, we would love to feature you!

Google vs. Grandmas

Hey guys. For this post I originally was going to post about my newfound love for soba noodles. But, today I ran into someone at the bar I thought I would never run in to. Her name is Sybil; she’s a 90 year old gal that’s sharper than some 20-year olds I know.  I always see her around Japantown and she’s an absolute sweetheart. They don’t make em like her anymore I’ll tell you that much.

 I told her about our blog and I asked her if she had any recipes to share. Sadly, everything she cooks she measures by memory–or whatever feels right. So a recipe was impossible to obtain.


This led me to thinking. If our elders aren’t writing anything down and our youth aren’t asking the right questions, how will we know what’s happened in our past? How will we get recipes from generations before? I feel for every story that’s in a textbook, 10,000 are forgotten.


But I fear such questions aren’t asked these days. Technology plays a part, since it’s so easy to ask your question online. I feel it’s important to ask your elders about things because certain things you can’t find online. And if not, they’ll disappear forever. It’s easier to Google a recipe than to call your Gramz and ask her for one these days. I urge everyone to seek out recipes for those dishes you remember so well from your childhood before they’re gone forever and they become just that–memories.


Google vs Grandmas. I would choose Grandmas. Hopefully you would too.

Ben Spangler


Ben is new to the culinary industry and is heavily tattooed! Read his short interview with K&N and see whats cooking today!

M: Write a little about yourself, background, work, currently doing what

B: Well I was born a poor black child…? Please be patient as I try to sound out my words and attempt at proper grammar throughout my Q & A. Reading and writing has never been my thing. I cook for a living, don’t think I have earned the title chef yet. Recently changed to the pastry side in the last year. Seems to be going really well. Honestly I think I am better at baking but like the cooking side more. Currently I am the pastry chef at Zelo in downtown Minneapolis. I spend most my time making bread, gelato and all the components to our plated desserts 5-6 days a week. I try to come up with new desserts at least 4-6 times a year. Try to change with the seasons and keep things interesting. Growing up I tried a lot of different career paths. I thought I wanted to be a photographer, professional runner or graphic/clothing designer before all this, but it never really made me as happy as cooking. Still do those as hobbies but my main focus is cooking. I’m glad I explored other career paths before getting into cooking because I know I can dedicate myself to this craft and not second-guess my choice for anyone who doesn’t know cooking full time. It’s a big fucking commitment. While your friends are out partying you will be cooking, while your family celebrates the 4th of July or New Years you will be cooking and when your girlfriend goes out to have drink with her family and friends you will be cooking. I wouldn’t call cooking my passion, passion is too temporary. With cooking its something else that drives me, Its more of a never ending want or desire to better myself everyday, even if just a little with my craft. If that makes any god damn sense?


 M: I hear you on that, I really do! When did you start getting tattooed?

B: October 2005. 2 month after I turned 18. I would of gotten it earlier but it didn’t really dawn on me that I could get tattoos. Apparently it took 2 months for me to recognize that I was old enough to get inked.


M: What was your first tattoo?  Do you still have it?

B: Just a simple 5 pointed star on my hip.  Probably the worst tattoo I have. Regret not going big on my first tattoo. I’m sure anyone with a descent amount of tattoos has a few they regret.


M: Oh yeah, for sure. Who has done some of your work?

B: A lot of artists from the twin cities area, couple in LA, Denver and Missouri. Most of my work has been done by my good friend Daniel Claussens at Beloved Studios in St. Paul. I have on of his first tattoos on my forearms.


M: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

B: I really admire Dan for his style and eye to detail. As for national/international artists I really have none. I don’t really follow the tattoo scene that much. Most of them seem pretty full of themselves.


M: Next tattoo?  

B: Working on my new “process of cooking” tattoo on my left leg. All we have so far is an octopus tentacle with some wild mushrooms growing behind it. But in the near future we plan to leave the raw food on the bottom of the leg and as you go further up my leg the food will be come more cooked and at the top of the leg will be fully cooked food. Or that’s the idea anyway. We’ll see how it goes as time progresses.


M: Funny idea! Are there any artists that you want work from that you have never met?

B: No, not really.


M: Do you read any tattoo magazines? If so, which ones?

B: To be honest I don’t really look at them. I will say that it pisses me off that whenever I do stroll by the tattoo magazines it’s always some pretty-titted women with only one stupid small tattoo.  If your gonna have a tattoo magazine that person on the cover better fucking have awesome tattoos. I have no interest in some half-a-tard with a butterfly tribal flower on their ribs.


 Ben was also cool enough to send us a recipe….  Check it out and try it yourself, they look amazing!


Peanut Butter Bars

Yield: one half sheet pan *** be sure to use a half sheet pan when doing this recipe otherwise your quantities will be off when your setting up the bars***

Chocolate crunch

yield: 2 (21oz) layers

7oz 14oz

1. 2. 3.

milk chocolate 42%

melt chocolate completely over a double boiler remove from heat and fold in feuilletine
spread evenly on a greased half sheet pan and slightly smash with your palm so its evenly spreads’

refrigerate, so it sets up (once cool move onto the second recipe)

Peanut Butter Cream

yield: 2 (50oz) layers

7oz sugar 2oz water —
4oz whites 2 sugar —

10oz butter —
25oz p.butter

  1. Carmelize sugar and water, (@ 250) start whipping whites
  2. @ 280 add sugar to whipped egg whites
  3. once cool add room temp butter
  4. add peanut butter whipped until combined
  5. store in plastic piping bag allow to cool to room temp

spread evenly over chocolate crunch and use an offset spatula (make as

even as possible) 6.Refridgerate (so it sets up)

Chocolate Peanut Butter ganache

yield: 2 (13oz) layers

8oz 7oz 8oz 4oz

milk chocolate (42%) bittersweet chocolate (60%) cream
peanut butter

melt chocolate in a double boiler

1.heat milk until steamy and pour over chocolate
2.mix until combined and add peanut butter mix until combined

  1. pour over peanut butter mousse layer in half sheet pan and spread evenly
  2. refrigerate and once it sets up cut to desirable slices


 OMG that sounds so good, thank you Ben!!

Send us your food tattoos and recipes, we want to feature you!


Thank you and enjoy!


Tattoo Tuesday


Zombie cupcake by Austina Obscure Tattoo in Wyoming, PA!!

Thank you Austina!!

If you have a food tattoo or recipe you would like to be featured, email us!

Thank you, have a great day!

Ian Marks!


Ian Marks is making his mark in the culinary world with his restaurant Beast and the Hare situated in the Mission District in San Francisco. They are known for their in-house made fresh pastas, pickles, and prosciutto! It’s got an English pub feel with Mediterranean flavors in a charcuterie, comfort food setting with a high-end feel. Very Californian as in anything goes! Ian

Here is what Ian has to say about food and tattoos, read on!


M: How many years in the restaurant industry?

C: I have been working in the industry for 16 years. But I got my first chef job 2006 I think at Hog Island. Now I own my own restaurant in the Mission called Beast and the Hare

M: Favorite menu item at Beast and the Hare.

C: I guess I love when we have the kobe steak on. It usually comes with some sort of charred vegetables and porcini butter…. When I expo the cooks slide the steak tips over to me… STEAK’EMS!!!


M: First tattoo?

C: I was dating this girl who had tattoos and piercings and shit and she bought me my first tattoo when I turned 18. It was terrible. This stupid tribal dragon that luckily Jill was able to cover and turn into what I have today.

M: Favorite tattoo?

C: I asked Jill at State of Grace to do a piece for me. I wanted a Jack of hearts inspired by the Bob Dylan song. It had a lot of significance for me at the time and as I get older it has seemed to mean even more. I think it was fate because I gave her this vague image of what I was looking for. She asked me for some paper. I gave her parchment cuz that’s all we had. She drew it up in like 15 seconds. I couldn’t believe it. She made some tweeks and later that week I came over and she started the outline.

The best part of it all was she fit that damn dragon right under the Jack’s cloak like it was suppose to go there! She is incredible.

M: Culinary-related tattoos on chefs, yes or no?

C: I think it’s funny when I see a cook with his knife set on his arm. It’s played out. STOP DOING IT!! It doesn’t seem like it could mean anything. I prefer kitchen scars… Although I guess those fade with time. I like when people do fun things like, whisks or a Kitchenaide on their wrist.

M: Tattoo artists you admire

C: I don’t know that many artists. I truly believe that Jill Bonnie is crazy talented. I would allow her to put anything on me.  I also think Holly that owns Idle Hand on Haight St. is incredible.

I’ve seen some of her stick and poke portraits. I couldn’t believe she could put such detail on a persons skin.


M: Next tattoo

C: If I found something worth putting on me that is a portrait I would have Holly do it.

M: Chefs and tattooers, any connection?

C: I do believe we are intertwined mainly because we are all artists. We are inspired by carnage, colors, beauty and the unseen. And we like to show it off to people.

M: Any wannabe-chef advice?

C: Cooking novices of the world… Prep cooks are restaurants unsung heroes. Being an excellent prep cook carries more weight then most positions in the kitchen.

M:  Cheers to that! What recipe would you like to share today?

C: The dish is our rabbit and bacon stew over soft polenta and salsa verde.


Rabbit stew

Feeds like 3-4

1 large stewer rabbit (3-4 lbs.)

1 tbs. fennel: 1 tsp. coriander + 1tsp. cumin (toast in the oven till you can smell it and then grind)

2 tbs. salt or so

Break rabbits into two front legs, two hind legs and two loins with the saddle attached. Rub with the spice mix and salt. Set aside

1 white onion diced

and equal amount of bacon cut to the same size

peels from 1 lemon

1 12 oz. can of san marzano tomatoes

4 cloves of garlic

Start with the bacon and render out. Add the lemon and onions once the bacon has released enough fat to coat the ingredients.

Remove all the goods from the pan and add a little olive oil. Sear off all your rabbit pieces. Add the onions/bacon mix back, the garlic, tomatoes and stock to cover. Set to a low simmer.

Cook for at least 2 hours or until the bones come out of the legs smoothly. You can always leave them in too. Kinda looks cool! OR don’t remove them and you’re good.

2 c. white corn polenta

4 c. water 4 c. cream


Porcini powder (if you gots it)

Bring liquids to a boil then quickly turn down to the lowest your stove will allow and add the polenta, salt and mushroom powder if using. Stir the polenta quit often or else it will stick to the bottom and burn. It’s done when it doesn’t taste mealy or raw


1/2 bunch of chives

1/2 bunch of mint

1/2 bunch of marjoram

2 shallots diced real small then soaked in red or white wine vinegar for 10 minutes.

Maybe a 1/4 c. good olive oil

Chop roughly each herb separately then add together. Drain the shallots and add it to the herbs along with the oil.


Ladle some of the rabbit stew into a sauté pan and reduce the liquid. Adjust the seasoning if you need to. Put a big ‘ol dollop of polenta in a bowl. Ladle that sweet, sweet rabbit stew on top and then pile on the salsa!




Quick Food For Thought: Asparagus


photo courtesy of Michelle Roberts!

Knives and Needles contributing writer, Michelle Roberts is also a super talented photographer. She sent me a bunch of amazing photos of various foods today so I thought I should put them to good use for knives and needles! Today’s photo is asparagus, so I thought I would share a little knowledge of what I know about the veggie. Read on and get inspired to eat your vegetables!


Given its phallic shape, asparagus is frequently enjoyed as an aphrodisiac food.   Feed your lover boiled or steamed spears for a sensuous experience. Some suggests “eating asparagus for three days for the most powerful affect”. There are three types of asparagus today, white, green, and purple.

Asparagus is one of the oldest recorded vegetables in history starting with the ancient Greeks and Romans. They contain a moderate level of fiber and is very low in calories. The vegetable is also high in anti-oxidants; vitamins C, K, and A; and the vitamin B-complex group including riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, thiamin, and pantothenic acid. Lastly asparagus is also rich in minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and phosphorus.

White Asparagus, Green Asparagus and Purple Asparagus

White asparagus is white because of the process of etiolation (the deprivation of light). Dirt is kept mounded around the emerging stalk, depriving it of light. The plant cannot produce chlorophyll without the sunlight, so there is no green color to the stalks.
White asparagus is considered to be slightly milder in flavor and a bit more tender than green asparagus.

Purple asparagus is different to green and white asparagus. The purple color comes from the high levels of anthocyanins (potent antioxidants) in the spears. It has a lower fiber content than white or green asparagus, making it more tender and the whole spear can be eaten from tip to butt. Purple asparagus tend to be sweeter and thicker than green or white asparagus. Fresh purple asparagus has a deeply fruity flavor.

So pick up some asparagus today! You want the stalks to be as fresh from picking as possible. Also you want them to be tender but firm stalks with tightly-closed tips. Storing asparagus can be tricky as they perish quickly. You want to store them in the refrigerator around 38-40 degrees F to insure freshness and longevity.

Happy eating and thanks for stopping by knives and needles blog today!

If you have a recipe or food tattoo you would like to share, write us at


Photo courtesy of Michelle Roberts

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