Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the category “cooking”

Surf n Turf Kabobs

Hey guys, I want to share with you this kabob recipe. I think it’s great to have for summer BBQ’s or just a quick meal at home on the skillet. This recipe will yield about 12-15 kabobs. What you’ll need is:

  • ½ lb flank steak
  • ½ lb fresh halibut
  • ½ lb fresh tilapia
  • 2 bell peppers (I chose 1 golden and 1 green)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cooking skewers

Cut the bell peppers into bite sized pieces. The cherry tomatoes you can use whole. Cut the flank steak and fish into bite sized pieces also. I separated them and seasoned them with salt, pepper, red pepper, cumin, & garlic powder.

Now for the fun part, assembling the kabobs. Be careful because I pricked myself a few times. I went with this pattern– protein-vegetable-vegetable-protein and so on. I made it so there was one piece of each protein on the kabob.


I used a stove top skillet to cook these bad boys. Just spray a bit of olive oil on the skillet before cooking so everything doesn’t stick to it. Make sure you rotate the kabobs so they cook evenly. Cook them however you like but I would make sure that the fish is fully cooked. I served mine with a spinach & arugula salad along with an ice cold Anchor Lager beer.


Tattoo Tuesday!

Big Chuck from Relentless Tattoo in Sacramento, CA gives us this awesome sacred avocado!


“The person who wanted it had the basic idea of wanting an Avocado sacred heart. I was stoked to do it because avocados are my favorite fruit (second favorite: BANANAS!) and also I love religious iconography. Happily, an open avocado is naturally heart shaped so that was nice. I added a little tomato to act as the stem, since it was both a nice fit, and because the two items are often paired together in delicious dishes such as guacamole. Overall I was very inspired by an old Dave Waugh “sacred heart” flash page I’ve seen a few times. Kinda just has a whimsical vibe or whatever. It’s farmers market time right now in Sacramento which means until October I can eat a perfect, delicious avocado every single day. And I will!”

Thank you, Chuck!

If you have a food tattoo you’d like us to show on Knives and Needles, email a photo of it along with artist credit and a little back story to

Tim Hendricks

How much can you say about someone like Tim? He’s an amazing tattooer, an incredible husband, a fantastic friend and an all around stand up guy. I couldn’t be more stoked he and his beautiful wife, Liz, wanted to be a part of Knives and Needles! Last week I was lucky enough to have a great home made dinner with these two, and got to pick his brain about all his culinary adventures…


Brynne Palmer- How long have you been tattooing?
Tim Hendricks- My mom said I started messing around with it around 15 or 16. I’m 36 now, so about 20 years, give or take.

BP- Do you have any chef clients, and what have you tattooed on them?
TH- I have had chef clients, but I can’t recall what I tattooed them it was so long ago. I tattooed a cupcake on a baker friend a while back, that was fun.

BP- What is your fondest food related memory?
TH- When I lived in Miami my roommate Mattie and I would meet up with our homie Mark every weekend at Nobu. This is when all of us were making decent money and living carefree. Every weekend, before we went out, we would talk story and laugh our asses off while eating the best food around. Those were some of the happiest times of my life with some of the most favorite people in my life, I will never forget it.

BP- What is your favorite style of food and why?
TH- I don’t know if I have a favorite style of food. Is there a name for modern fusion food? I’m really in to that type of food right now. Anything out of the ordinary and inventive, I’ll try it all.

BP- What is your input on the correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?
TH- I think that in cooking, just like tattooing, any minuscule change in style or preparation can change everything. Also, now that there are TV shows on cooking and tattooing every knucklehead wants to be a chef or tattooer. Because “it looks so easy”… Just like on TV… Pfffffft!

BP- In your travels, what is the craziest food experience you’ve had?
TH- While in Indonesia, somewhere between eating magic mushrooms, surfing, partying and barreling down every side street on my motorcycle, I went to a very obscure place of food. We went to a medicinal snake house where we drank cobra blood and then ate cobra soup. My friend, who lived there, talked the guy into letting us play with the king cobra beforehand, that was a pretty epic and frightening experience. Now I know people get all sour on killing a cobra for it’s blood but let me reassure you that every part if the cobra is used, even the entrails and bones. It was a tasty and exhilarating experience.


BP- Do you have a favorite restaurant? World, home and New York?
TH- Even though I’ve had great food all over the world, right now I’m fond of Sons of Essex in NYC.

BP- What do you usually cook at home? What is your favorite meal your wife prepares? ;)hi Liz
TH- I used to line cook for a living when was young(part time), so I hate cooking for myself anymore. Fortunately my wife Liz is an incredible cook and loves to cook. I am SO blessed and love everything she makes, but the mushroom bourguignon pasta she recently made was off the HOOK!

(What a babe!!!)
BP- If given a choice, what would your last meal be? Please include drink and dessert
TH- I would like to be surprised with a meal, I love being surprised with my entrée. For dessert I would like 3 pistachio macaroons, slightly chilled. For my drink I would break my sobriety with a class of red wine spiked with 3 OxyContin, I mean why not, I’m about to be executed for crying out loud!

Thank you, Tim, Liz and Buddy, for welcoming me into your home and fixing me dinner, it was delicious!

Later, Budward! xoxo

For more on Tim, check out

Chef Colin Murphy

Colin Murphy learned his trade at the Le Cordon Bleu university, and became a chef at one of Southern California’s finest restaurants, Studio at the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach. After the birth of his two sons, he decided life in the kitchen didn’t leave enough time for his family, and is now a chef for hire with his business partner for their company 2 Sharp Knives. Colin was kind enough to share some of his experiences getting tattooed and gave us a delicious recipe!

Brynne Palmer- How long have you been a chef?
Colin Murphy- Six years or so professionally

BP- What was your first tattoo, when did you get it, and do you still have it?
CM-My first tattoo was a Japanese symbol on my chest, cheesy i know. and yes I still have it. I was 17 and still living at my dads so I had to put it in a place he wouldn’t see it. He is not a fan of tattoos.

BP- What intitally drew you to tattoos?
CM-I’ve always liked how they looked and knew I wanted some. The more time that passes the more I want to have done. I think of them as a way to document and show what is important to me and where I’ve been.

BP- Colin Dowling from Gold Rush did your sleeve, which is Japanese style in design, but based on an Irish folk tale. Can you tell us about the story, and why you chose to get it?
CM-There are a series of tales about Finn McCool, too many to count. A quick synopsis is that Finn was a giant, he wasn’t the biggest or the smartest but was the kindest and did many great things for Ireland. There were many giants from different countries and he was irelands only one. A few of the tales I tried to have detailed in the sleeve. One story was that Finn supposedly built the Giants causeway (which is a series of hexagonal stone columns that were supposedly a bridge from Ireland to Scotland) by throwing earth and rocks into the sea to fight the Scottish giant Cahulin. The other prominent story revolves around this salmon of wisdom. If caught and eaten the person would be given all the knowledge of the world. Finn seeks this so he can better serve Ireland’s needs and wants when dealing with the kings of England and France. Many of the tales are vehicles to teach morality and life lessons to children like most folk tales in other cultures. These story have a special meaning to me because when my wife was pregnant with twins we decided on two names Finn, and Beckett. We picked Finn mainly because of the legends that are associated wuth Finn mccool. When she was only 25 weeks pregnant she went into labor and gave birth, 15 weeks premature they both weighed about 1 1/2 pounds each. Finn passed away shortly after birth and Beckett turns 5 this July. We believe he protected his brother and is his guardian to this day.

BP- Do you have any memories of getting tattooed that really stand out?
CM- One that comes to mind was when my brother and i a Celtic knot on our forearms up in Santa Barbra from pat fish a few years back. that was his first tattoo and it was real special to share that with him. Besides that Pat also has these two Huge Irish Wolfhounds in the shop. and they are like the size of a small horse. It was a little weird because they were so big and i felt like i was in a zoo or something. I still laugh when I
think about these dogs walking around the shop as I hear the buzzing of the tattoo machine.

BP- Have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industry? And how do you think the two relate to one another?
CM-I think both lifestyles draw brash, and confident personalities. People that love what they do and don’t accept anything less than perfection from themselves. I think both crafts can be honed over time and there is always learning of something new in both fields. Plus it seems that both believe in the work hard, play hard philosophy.

BP- I would imagine that being a chef for hire you get a wide range of culinary requests, is there any particular style of food or dish that you especially enjoy working with?
CM- If I’m cooking for myself I’ll cook southeast Asian more times than not. Fresh crisp seasonal produce, vinegar, fish sauce, chiles and lots of seafood. I could eat that and sushi everyday.

BP- What’s the best advice you could give a novice chef?
CM- Never stop learning. Don’t be afraid to try something new.

BP-Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with our readers?

Whenever we have people over this is quick recipe and delicious spread that can be changed depending on personal tastes.

Three-Cheese Herb and Honey Spread
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 ounces fresh goats milk cheese (chèvre)
1/2 cup ricotta (preferably sheeps-milk)
1/4 cup cream cheese
Honey, for serving
Roughly chopped fresh herbs (basil,chervil,tarragon, dill, or parsley), for serving
1small loaf sourdough bread, thickly sliced crosswise and lightly toasted


Thank you, Colin! We are so excited to try your delicious spread! For more on Colin, and to hire his services, check out!

Tattoo Tuesday!

My good friend Christie Walker has a few adorable food tattoos. The cupcake was done by Lindsey Carmichael, and the fruit was done by Dan Smith


Thank you, Christie, for sharing your food tattoos with us! Check out her blog, for some healthy cooking ideas!

If you have a food tattoo you’d like us to show on Knives and Needles, email a photo of it along with artist credit and a little back story to

Tattoo Tuesday!

Our friend John Niederkorn (johndotcom) over at Tattoo Artist Magazine has gotten some pretty rad food tattoos over the years. One in particular came from the legendary Mike Malone, I’m so glad he wanted to share it, and the great story that goes along!

John- This story started when I got a job at Taylor St. Tattoo in 2005-2006-ish. I had met Chris Smith (or Chis Smiff, he loves that) through some mutual friends and he asked me if I was interested in working at the shop one day a week, just doing the counter…

So “Name Day” became my litmus test at Taylor St. and Keith Underwood hired me despite me being late on the first day… But that’s another story altogether. Anyway… One day a week turned into two, two into three…etc. Boom! I’m there 65 hours and five days a week by spring 2006.

So, Rollo and I had spent quite a bit of time together prior to my birthday on March 20th. Often I would come in early (earlier than I had too) just to hang out with him and Keith. He’d always be there… Smoking his cigar (inside the shop mind you) painting, telling stories, selling crap on e-Bay so he could buy more crap from e-Bay… you know, the usual… Ha ha!

One of these Keith/Rollo mornings I was playfully bitching about getting tattooed on my birthday because I had never been tattooed on my actual birthday before, and for whatever reasons nobody at the shop could do it on that day specifically… So I was airing my disappointment aloud…

“I’ll do the damn thing… when’s your birthday?” Rollo said.

Okay, now you have to understand something about Rollo… At this point he was telling some people he didn’t want to tattoo them or he would turn people down ALL the time… People would drive (sometimes from very far away) to see him and try to get a little tattoo from him and he would just say, “No, sorry… not feeling it today…” and poof… he’d disappear into the walls… Ha!

In fact, I had just recently witnessed one of these denials go down. So the thought of asking the shop Dragon to tattoo me was the furthest thing from my mind… And never in a million years did I think he was just gonna offer…

Then the discussion turned quickly to “what would you get” and I kinda still hadn’t caught my breath from the idea that this “Living Legend” who fucking turns people away left and right, is now having a mini impromptu consultation with me…

“Um…um… I… Hmmm… well… The thing with the stuff and… goo…”

“GET A BIRTHDAY CAKE!” Keith screamed from the back office, undoubtedly with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and one still burning in the ashtray…

“Oh! I like food tattoos…” Rollo said, and I could see the wheels of excitement spinning in his brain. And then he started to tell me a story about this ice cream cone tattoo he did at Jerry’s shop in Hawaii on a sailor, and how much he loved doing that tattoo and how much the sailor loved it and how little Rollo charged him because he liked the idea so much… And then I think he said the sailor came back and told Rollo how much the ladies liked his ice cream tattoo… and then shit just kept getting more awesome…

Rollo tells me how he’s going to make it chocolate with “jap pink” frosting, just furiously describing this factious cake like it was sitting in front of him…

I’m in! Wonderful idea, thank you Keith and now I’m hungry!

So that’s kinda how that went down… That’s how I got my birthday cake from Rollo… Now him “actually” tattooing me… That’s a story for close friends… and it’s pretty damn funny too.


What a great story, thank you so much John!

Luke Wessman

Growing up in a rough part Oceanside, California, Luke Wessman had a hard road to travel to get where he’s at today. Years of hard work, and artistic talent, have built him and his “traditional gangster” style of tattooing quite a reputation in the tattoo and art communities from coast to coast. Now a fixture at Wooster Street Social Club in New York City, Luke stays humble and sticks to the work ethic that got him to where he is today.

I was so stoked to hear that this self made gentleman wanted to share some of his experiences and tattoos with our readers. Thanks, Luke!


Brynne Palmer- How long have you been tattooing, and how did you get into it?
Luke Wessman-I’ve been tattooing almost 15 years now. My older brother’s friend Jason was tattooing everybody in the neighborhood out of his home, and I started getting tattooed by him at 16. He eventually got a job at a newly opened tattoo shop in our city and it was there that I met some other artist and friends that eventually brought me into the life, forever changing it.

BP- What was your first tattoo, when did you get it and do you still have it?
LW- My first tattoo was “Wessman” in Old English across my shoulder blades 18 or so years ago, unfortunately it was covered years back when I started a full back piece. I say unfortunately because the older I get the more I cherish the old ones, but the memories are still there.

BP- What is your fondest food related memory?
LW-Getting the desserts at this homeless shelter we used to eat at as a kid “Brother Benos” That and the donut plate that was out before church started on sundays when I was little.

BP- Your career takes you all over the world, do you have any standout culinary experiences or funny stories from your travels?
LW- I was with some dear friends in Milano, Italy for a tattoo convention, we all went to eat at this little restaurant (Italian of course) and this rude server could not grasp that my friend Manako was vegan and what that meant, we literally almost got into a fist fight with this guy in this crowded restaurant because my friend Manako wanted to send back the cheese filled french onion soup. Another memorable food moment, and more positive, was watching my dear friend at the Aspen food and wine festival do sushi at a SWS party and later hearing Chef Nobu Matsuhisa say to him “I hope we can work together one day” which ment a lot to my friend, which means a lot to me.

BP- Now living in New York, what are a few of your favorite places to eat? Any good go to date spots?
LW- I have a few spots I frequent often, one is called ‘Sons Of Essex” the other is “Schiller’s Liquor Bar” both in the Lower East Side where I live. I get treated very well at both and only a very special lady will I bring to either.

BP- Are there any restaurants in your hometown you really look forward to when you get back?
LW- Yes, one of my oldest friends Rob Ruiz is head chef at a sushi spot called “Harney”, It’s the best sushi I have ever eaten, served by one of my dearest friends, in the city I grew up in, win win.

BP- Do you have any chef clients, and if so what have you tattooed on them?
LW- I do, I suppose the most notable are, my friends Rob Ruiz whom I have done a lot of work on, and Chef Rick Tramonto I did a big Hammer Stahl knife on his forearm. There is a cool video of me tattooing it on Rick on my site.

BP- Have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?
LW- Oh yeah big time, it seems to go hand in hand. Most chefs I have come across have many tattoos, it seems to be a big part of the chef culture. A lot of passion and struggle in the kitchen. The average people have now idea how hard those guys work back there.

BP- What is your favorite thing to cook at home, and could you share the recipe with our readers?
LW- Well now being a bachelor these days, I’m not really cooking too much in my little NY kitchen, I think the most elaborate meal is like a peanut butter and jelly on a toasted bread, and a wide verity of cereals. For dessert I like to eat a Hershey’s chocolate bar with Nilla wafers and some milk.

For more of Luke’s work, check out!

Daniel Albrigo

Daniel Albrigo is quite a force to be reckoned with! Not only is he an accomplished tattooer, his artistry has gained him notoriety in both the fine art and tattoo world. He started his tattoo career in Southern California, and now finds himself working at Three Kings Tattoo in Brooklyn, NYC. Daniel is one of those people who is incredibly enthusiastic about anything he is involved with, and I knew that he would be excited to share his artistry and culinary prowess with us!


“I’m very happy to contribute to The Knives and Needles blog, it’s a cool experience to have a different platform on the internet than usual.”


Daniel Albrigo-
As a Chef and food lover I’ve always said that if i wasn’t tattooing I’d probably be a chef or cooking somewhere. There is something very calming and satisfying about cooking a meal with fresh ingredients and enjoying the gifts of your labor along with the fruits of this beautiful earth. My wife Brook and I are food connoisseur by nature, we are always chasing a good meal or a new ingredient that we haven’t used before. One of the things that fuels our love for traveling is the access to trying foods from all over the world. after the trip we bring back those flavors and try our own version of what we tried.

My mother and father were always cooking and encouraging us to help in the kitchen, cooking, prepping etc. whether it be a family recipe from my Italian Grandmother Alma, BBQing in the back yard or even my Mom’s famous seafood surprise soup haha, Ive always been cooking even if just making a home made grilled cheese. its just what i know, we didnt ever really order out growing up but rather cooked most meals together as a family. But, after moving to NYC from California my Wife Brook and I try to cook more at home and take advantage of the produce market across the street from our house instead of ordering thai food every night.

Because NYC gets so insanely hot and humid in the summer time there isnt much cooking going on, that is officially when the oven is turned off for the season. i get excited in the cooler months here mainly for the kitchen use and making new meals. This is one of my favorite spring/fall meals, A whole roasted chicken with roasted veg. something that warms the soul and something that is very easy to prep. a meal that the next day you can make a soup or a sandwich out of. (but thats a different post all together)

All hail the ONE POT MEAL

Chef Albrigo


1 six-pound roasting chicken
Olive Oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 carrots
10 small golden potatoes
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled but left whole.
1 hour and 30 mins cook time
30 min prep time.
A Cast Iron Pan is my personal recommendation for roasting chicken and/or Vegetables

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from chicken if there is one. Remove the giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck the wing tips under the body. its best to use the chicken at or near room temperature. season with salt, pepper, cummin and turmeric to your likings
Heat cast iron pan on stove untill hot, add olive oil and begin to caramelize the potatoes, garlic and carrots for 10-15 mins. remove vegetables from pan and set aside. add seasoned chicken to the hot frying pan breast side up. Once the chicken is centered in the cast iron pan add vegetables around the chicken and put into the 450 degree pre heated oven.
Bake the chicken at 450 degrees for 30 mins to achieve and nice golden brown color on the chicken. Take the chicken out of the oven and cover the chicken/pan with a foil top which will prevent the chicken from getting too dry and prevent the skin from getting burnt. Lower the oven temperature to 425 degrees and continue baking for an hour or until the internal temperature has reached 180 degrees.
let the chicken rest for 10-15 before cutting or serving. and Enjoy 🙂


For more of Daniel’s work, please check out and
Thanks, Dad! 😉

Tattoo Tuesday!

For today’s edition of Tattoo Tuesday, artist Jimmy Lazer of Up in Flames Tattoo in Fall River, Mass. gave us this awesome slice of pizza he did on Philip Shive!

Philip is a butcher by trade, and used to host a public television show called “Pizza Time” in his hometown in North Carolina. He got the tattoo from Jimmy while on tour playing bass with the David Liebe Hearts Band. For more of Jimmy’s work, check out!

If you’d like us to feature your food tattoo or a piece you’ve done on Tattoo Tuesday, please email your photo, a little backstory, and artist credit to Thanks!

Christian Dolias


Christian Dolias

Christian Dolias of CutThroat Culinary is a force to be reckoned with. He is an innovator in the culinary world, taking kitchens by storm leaving no pot unstirred! He runs an ever-expanding social club for chefs called CutThroat Culinary with members all over the States, Europe and South America.


Their mission is to bring cutting edge chefs together and push gastronomic envelopes. Basically cause a culinary ruckus by creating the new and recreating the old. They specialize in pop-up dinners, kitchen takeovers to invent unique and exciting dining experiences for all to enjoy. Crazy stuff!


Christian is 34 and graduated from California Culinary Academy in 1997. He eventually left the professional kitchen to start CutThroat Culinary. When he is not tearing up the restaurant scene, he spends time with his wife and kids, and one new one on the way!


He got his first tattoo in 1994, age 16. It was a bad copy of a signature of Jimi Hendrix and he has since covered it up. Christian is a take-life-by-the-balls kinda guy, so its not a surprise his favorite tattoo is one of his wife by Nate Esteras. Its done cartoon-style and got it after dating for only two weeks!


One of his more memorable tattoo stories happened a few years back. He was in town (here in San Jose) for a speaking engagement with the celebrity-chef Anthony Bourdain. Christian has a portrait of Anthony Bourdain (done by Ben Corn) on his thigh and somehow ended up getting on stage and showing it to Mr. Bourdain and the rest of the crowd. I asked him if the chef was flattered or creeped out. He was flattered!


Christian names Mike Ferguson as a tattoo hero and his advice on dealing with a healing tattoo in the kitchen is just deal with it. Rightfully said, sir!


Here is a Christian recipe, you gotta try it!


Foie gras and Waffles with Vanilla and Riesling Grape Comfiture 


2 c cake flour

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c brown sugar

3 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs separated

1 c milk

1/2 c buttermilk

1 c melted butter

1 tsp pure vanilla ext

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Combine dry ingredients

Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks

Beat yolks, add milk,butter and vanilla

Stir into dry ingredients until moist then fold in whites

Foie Gras

Cut a nice uniform slice of Foie gras approximately 3oz (1 serving) score the foie gras and place scorn side down in a ripping hot sauté pan and allow to caramelize, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Flip and sear for another minute

(Hold all Foie gras rendering, this shit is good on everything!)

White grape / vanilla comfiture

Add to med saucepan

1/2 # whole white grapes

2 c clover honey

1/4 # white raisins

1/4 # white raisins (for finishing)

1/2 bottle Muscat wine

1/4 gal apple juice

Bring to med boil

And reduce by 1/2

Remove from heat and pulse with submission blender until smooth

Pour through chinios

Return liquid to med heat and whole white raisins, split and scrap one vanilla bean and vanilla and bean to liquid, reduce again approximately by 1/2 allowing the raisins to plump.

That sounds incredibly mouth-watering!

Thank you Christian, YOU ROCK!!


You can check out more on CutThroat Culinary at

photos compliments of Christian

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