Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Wilhelmina

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Wilhelmina is one of our first international chefs to interviewed for knivesandneedlesblog! Thank you Wilhelmina for taking the time to share your thoughts, tattoos and yummy recipe! Read on to see what Wilhelmina has to say…
Molly: So tell us a bit about yourself
Wilhelmina: My name is Wilhelmina, I’m 23 years old and live in Leiden, Holland. Since February I’m working as garde manger at the Hilton Garden Inn in Leiden/Oegstgeest, Holland.
M: I love Holland! The food there is so great, what are some of your favorite things to cook?
W: My favorite thing to cook is without a doubt cheesecake. I love, love, love cheesecake! But I don’t bake them. Just let them stiffen up in the fridge. In every flavor you can imagine.
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M: who doesn’t love cheesecake! So on to tattoos. When did you get your first tattoo and what was it?
W: I got my first tattoo when I just turned 15. I had a boyfriend [who is now my ex-husband] who had some tattoos and I really loved that kind of art. So I wanted something too. My mom didn’t agree, but when I said I’d love to have the Chinese character for ‘Mother’ she just sighed and said ‘Okay, love you’. Two weeks later I got my first tattoo and my mom even paid for it. It’s still there in my shoulder, but now I’ve got ‘The Big Wave’ from the Japanese painter Hokusai all around it.
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M: Hokusai… yes! So do you ever go to any tattoo conventions?

W: Tattoo conventions are so awesome and I really want to go to every convention I can go to. Love to get tattooed on conventions, but also hanging out with the artist and making some new friends. Unfortunately I can not go everytime because of my work. The conventions are mostly in the weekend, and I’m working almost every weekend. On top of that I only go to Dutch conventions, and one time went to Antwerp. But I really, really want to go abroad. I would love to go to London, Paris, Rome, Munchen-Gladbach and many more.

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M: Those are some good shows! Who do you admire in the tattooing and/or culinary industries?
W: In the culinary industry I really admire Sergio Herman, Ricardo van Ede, Brandon Baltzley, Heston Blumenthal, Jamie Oliver, Roderick Rijsdam, Jean Beddington and lots more!
In the tattoo industry I really admire Gerrit Termaat, Rob Deut, Maximo Lutz,  Lyz Diephuis, Leslie Reesen, Hankey Jee, Nikko Hurtado, Ade Itameda and many more.
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M: Nice! If you could get tattooed by anyone in the world right now, who would it be and why?

W: If I could get tattooed by any tattooer in the world right now I would probably go for Ade Itameda. I have an elephant tattooed on my back and my shoulder blades and everything around the elephant are still empty. I would love for him to get that covered with his amazing dotwork.

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M: Magazines. Food or tattoos, which ones do you read?
W: I really enjoy reading, or actually just looking at the pictures, food magazines. My absolute favorite is ‘Patisserie&Desserts’. I really just love all the sweetness. Tattoo magazines, same story. Love the pictures. Sometimes I feature in ‘Tattoo Planet’, a Dutch monthly magazine.
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M: Ah so you tattoo model as well, cool! Let’s end with some advice… Any cooking advice for beginners?

W: The only cooking advice I can give is just do your own thing. Go crazy, experimenter and taste. Taste everything. Go to the basis of the food, take a trip to your local farmer. Love your food ❤

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Great advice! I always say cook with feeling too!

As with weekly tradition, Wilhelmina has given us her over-the-top Oreo cheesecake recipe! Check it out….. I promise you wont regret it!

Oreo cheesecake

Oreo Cheesecake

Crust

2 cups Oreo crumbs (from about 20 Oreos)
1/4 cup butter, melted
 Filling
24 oz (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz whipped cream
1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs (from about 16 Oreos)
7-10 Oreos, chopped, optional
Instructions
1. Combine Oreo crumbs (for crust) with melted butter.
2. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Set in refrigerator to firm.
3. Mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl until smooth and well combined.
4. Gently stir in whipped cream.
5. Add Oreo crumbs and chopped Oreos and gently mix until well combined.
6. Pour filling into crust and smooth the top.
7. Top with additional Oreo’s, if desired.
8. Refrigerate for about 4 hours or until firm.

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Thank you Wilhelmina! Your tattoos are amazing and I want to try your cheesecake recipe like yesterday!

You can catch more of Wilhelmina on IG: @WillayWilhelmina

If you are a tattooed chef or foodie tattooer and have any recipes or food tattoos, send them to us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com or tag us on IG: @knivesandneedles – we would love to feature you!

Cheers!

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Tattoo Tuesday

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Tattoo by Daniel Claessens on Ben Spangler!

Thank you Ben!! Damn, I want Ramen!!!!

Send us your food tattoos at knivesandneedles@gmail.com or tag us at @knivesandneedles

Cheers!

Andrew Parsons

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Chef Andrew Parsons has a pretty impressive job and loves tattoos. Read on and find out more on this traveling chef!

Molly: Please tell us a bit about yourself

Andrew: My name is Andrew Parsons age 25, currently working in Delhi India as the executive Chef of the Canadian High Commission. I grew up in Newfoundland Canada, where I started my cooking career as a dishwasher and then moved my way up. Moved to Toronto and worked in a few of the top restaurants then I ended up signing a contract for India, aha.

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M: Canada is awesome! How did you get into cooking?

A: As a kid I always found myself helping my grandmother in her kitchen, from helping with bread and or cookies…sometimes eating most of them, I just really enjoyed it. I worked in franchise kitchens in my teenage years. Even became a welder and tried a few different things but I always found myself back working in kitchens, enjoying the rush and the creativity, so I decided to stick with it and see where it could get me.

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M: Thats really cool. You currently live overseas, where else have you lived and worked?

A: I have lived in St. John’s, Newfoundland , Toronto and Calgary, now delhi India and I have cooked in all those cities except for Calgary!

M: Do you have a favorite place in the world to cook?

A: My favorite place in the world to cook I would probably have to say is on a beach somewhere in Newfoundland. Go out in the early morning, catch the freshest of Atlantic seafood and then setup on the beach with a cast iron and open fire and cook a delicious shore lunch with your friends.

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M: That sounds incredible! So when did you get your first tattoo?

A: I first got tattooed when I was almost 16 years old, went and got some stars on my hips and hid them from my family for about 2 years. Once my father found out he was pretty open about it, so on came the ink.

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M: Who do you admire in the culinary industry?

A: I would say right now in the culinary industry my biggest influences are probably Alex Atala, and Daniel Boulud and Grant Achatz.

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M: And who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

A: Right now in the tattoo industry I love looking at Myke Chambers work. His style is so unique and fresh, I would love to get tattooed by him.

M: What is your next tattoo?

A: My next tattoo would be to probably be to finish my stomach next time I’m in Toronto. I have been thinking a lot about my hands… But who knows.

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M: Hands… big step! Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?

A: I think that a lot of us are heavily tattooed because in general we are creative people in a whole.. And maybe due to the fact that we are always hiding in the kitchen anyways?

M: This may be redundant but if you could get tattooed by anyone in the world right now, who would it be and why?

A: Myke chambers, fresh style, unique and just a great tattoo artist.

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M: Ah yes, you did mention him! Well, do you have any cooking advice for someone trying to cook Indian cuisine?

A: If you want to cook Indian cuisine, I would suggest to watch your spices. People tend to over power the natural flavors with chili. Oh and alway cook out your spices or pastes in the oil first.

Indian food is quite unique but rustic at the same time. It’s quite the fun style of cooking to learn.

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I love cooking Indian food,  I will definitely try this amazing recipe from Andrew! I am willing to bet this is pretty authentic and will make your kitchen a high-traffic destination in your house! TRY IT……

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Curry chicken with fragrant rice pilaf

2 skinless legs. Bone out and cubed

Marinate in plain yogurt, ginger garlic paste and lemon juice.

Yellow curry powder

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1tbsp ground coriander seed

1/2 tbsp ground clove

1/2 tbsp of ground cumin

2 green chilis

Grind into paste.

1 cup julienned red onion

2tbsp tomato paste

1 cup fresh chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp of ginger garlic paste

2 sliced green chilis

1/2 cup fresh green peas

1 cup cream

1 cup water

Coriander

Heat the ginger garlic paste in the oil with the curry paste, add the chopped onions, sauté until translucent.

Add tomato paste and fresh tomatoes and simmer.

In separate pan with hot oil sear the chicken with salt and pepper.

Add water and cream to the pan and incorporate chicken and peas simmer until cooked and right consistency add a bunch of chopped coriander. Finish the gravy with fried black mustard seed if wanted around 1 tsp

Make a basmati rice pilaf with cinnamon stick and clove

Plate and garnish with fresh coriander

Thank you Andrew!!

You can catch more of Andrew at either his Istagram or website

@andrewparsonss

www.chefandrewparsons.com

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If you are a tattooed chef or foodie tattooer, we would love to feature you! Contact us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com or tag us on IG, @knivesandneedles

Cheers!

Jose Ruiz

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He may be one of the youngest chefs in San Diego, but don’t let his age fool you! Jose Ruiz is one talented chef, and he was nice enough to sit down and let us into his world for a minute! Read on…

Molly: Tell me about yourself, please include what you are doing now

Jose: I am 25 years old, Mexican-American, born and raised in San Diego, California. I am currently the Executive chef at Herringbone La Jolla and have been working in the industry for over 10 years.

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M: How did you get into cooking?

J: My family friends owned a sushi bar where I got my fist job washing dishes, from there I gradually worked my way up to prep cook, then working on the line to eventually becoming a sushi chef at the age of 17. From then on I was hooked.

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M: Who inspires you in the kitchen?

J: Im inspired by all the old grandmothers, butchers, farmers and fishermen that have taken there passion and created old traditions. These are the classic chefs who have paved the way for new innovation. I feel like with out understanding the origins of where it all started its harder to know where its all going.

M: What interested you in getting tattooed?

J: Both my father and my uncle are heavily tattooed, and I have been surrounded by that kind of lifestyle since I can remember. From cars and tattoos, to art and everything that goes along with it.

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M: What was your first tattoo?

J: My “Ditch”, a red rose with music notes and spider webs.

M: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

J: There are a lot of artists that I admire but someone who stands out to me is Sergio Hernandez ‘Surge’ at 7 Seas, San Diego. He is an innovator when it comes to Mexican-American art in San Diego and is one of the most all around talented people I know. Along with being an artiest he is a Jiu-jitsu champion, successful musician, amazing family man, all the while staying humble.

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M: If you could get tattooed right now, what would it be and who would do it?

J: Besides finishing a very large piece I have on my stomach, I want to get a traditional Aztec serpent and black panther on me back. Right now my main artiest is Dan Pryor at 7 Seas, we have built a great friendship and he’s an amazing artiest.

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M: Do you own any tattoo magazines and which ones?

J: No, but I flip through some while I get my hair cut.

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M: Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?

J: I think it has become less of a taboo now for chefs to be heavily tattooed, and regardless of how odd some of us might look it doesn’t say any less about our craft and what we are doing. Every one of us has a story to tell and some like myself have chosen to express that on our bodies and through our food.

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M: Do you have any cooking advice for those who don’t cook much?

J: Dont over think it!! Its just food, and its all about trial and error.

Jose also sent us one of his specialties, try it out!

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Chicken fried sweetbreads with tabasco caviar, pickled mustard seeds and whipped blue cheese.

For sweetbreads:

1 -2 veal sweetbreads

2 cup flour ap flour (dredge mix)

1 cup corn starch

1 cup corn meal

Salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder to taste ( for fry flour)

1.5 qt butter milk ( for soaking and frying)

For mustard seeds:

2 tablespoons brown mustard seeds

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

For Tabasco caviar:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon agar agar

7 sheets gelatin, bloomed (softened in ice water)

1 pint very cold canola oil ( chilled in freezer for 4 hours)

For Blue cheese whipped cream:

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup blue cheese crumbles

5 sheets gelatin, bloomed ( softened in ice water)

1 bowl of ice

Pickled mustard seeds:

Combine sugar, red wine vinegar and mustard seeds in a sauce pot with a pinch of salt and simmer slow until mustard seeds are tender, about 20 – 30 minutes reserve in liquid.

2 Making tabasco caviar:

Put the water and Tabasco into a sauce pot with agar agar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and whisk in bloomed gelatin sheets. Take an eye dropper and drop Tabasco mix into the cold oil, when all Tabasco is in the oil, strain away the remain oil and you will have the caviar.

3 Blue cheese whipped cream:

Slowly heat up heavy whipping cream in a sauce pot, little by little whisk in blue cheese crumbles as soon as all the blue cheese is incorporated whisk in bloomed gelatin sheets. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator. As soon as it’s cooled place blue cheese heavy cream liquid into a table top mixer with whisk attachment put bowl of ice underneath the bowl to keep the bowl as cold as possible. Whisk at medium speed until it looks like whipped cream season with a pinch of salt and some cracked black pepper to taste-be careful not to over whip.

4 Veal Sweetbreads:

Take 1 quart of buttermilk and brine (soak) sweetbreads for 24 hours in refrigerator, remove from butter milk and wash off remaining butter milk under cold water. Heat up a pot of heavily salted water ( for poaching ) as soon as the pot is boiling place sweetbreads into the water and lower heat to a simmer. Depending on the size of the sweetbreads let them simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the sweetbreads have firmed up, remove from water and place into ice bath to cool (shock). Once cooled clean membrane(outer skin)and cut into large pieces and place into remaining 1/2 quart of buttermilk with a couple dashes of Tabasco and marinade.

5 Flour mixture ( dredge )

Combine flour, corn starch, corn meal, a pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder in a bowl and mix.

To assemble and serve:

Heat fryer to 325 or a large pot with oil, dredge sweetbreads in flour mixture and redredge In buttermilk then flour mixture. Carefully place pieces in fryer. Fry until golden brown about 3-4 minutes. Carefully remove and place on paper towel. On plate place on a light bed of greens (arugula, mizuna, frisée, etc. so they don’t roll around ) with whipped blue cheese, and garnish with caviar,mustard seeds with liquid and Micros or chopped parsley.

Damn! Thank you Jose, you went all out!

Send us your food or tattoo photos, we would love to feature you!

@knivesandneedles

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Cheers!

Asia Witherington Large

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I saw Asia on IG and had to get an interview with this beautiful and talented lady! Check out what inspires Asia cook and her thoughts on tattoos!

Molly: Tell me about yourself, please include what you are doing now

Asia: I am a born again Christian, child of God! I’m a mom of 3 and a newlywed wifey! In my past I was a tattoo artist of 17 years and a pinup model. I’m now a baker and established cake decorator and owner of Jireh Cakes!

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M: So how did you get into baking?

A: After surviving a tragic divorce and loosing everything I had down to my tattoo shop equipment, I was given an opportunity to cook and bake when looking for a new profession. The Lord basically threw baking in my lap! I hit the ground running and haven’t looked back since.

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M:  Wow, that takes guts. What do you enjoy most bout cooking?

A:  What’s not to enjoy. Cooking and baking is everything to me. Feeding others and helping them create happy memories! Mainly knowing its something God provided me with to survive. The Lord is really good.

M: So, what was your first tattoo?

A: At 15 I took a needle and thread with India ink I had from art class, I tapped a small yin and yang onto my left ankle. Hideous.

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M: Haha! Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

A: Being in the industry for so long I have many people I admire. Since I’ve removed myself from that scene I don’t talk to anyone. I’m very out of the loop.

Clint Cummings, Johnny Jackson, Myke Chambers, Anthony Zamora, Zack Ross, David De La O (butter), Michael Oureque, Jesse Alvarado, Bunny Switchblade…the list goes on.

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M: If you could get tattooed by anyone right now, who would it be and why?

A: I’m out of space so there will be no more tattoos for this girl!

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M: Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?.

A: You can’t explain it, it’s just you are, or your not.

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M: I know you said space is limited, but what would your next tattoo be?

A: I do want to put Jehovah Jireh in a banner on an anchor on my left hand I did about 6 years ago. It comes from Genesis 22. God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. He took his son to build an alter and obeyed Gods command. Just when he was about to sacrifice his son, he saw a ram tangled in the bush by him. God had provided for them. To thank The Lord, Abraham named where the alter was Jehovah Jireh because God provided for him. God provides for us all (hence Jireh Cakes). He will make a way out of no way and will turn our mess into His message!

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Thank you, Asia! You can catch more of Asia on FB or IG here…

Www.facebook.com/jirehcakes

Instagram:  @Jireh_cakes

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Are you a tattooed chef or a foodie tattooer who wants to share their work inside the kitchen or studio? Contact us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com, we would love to talk to you!

Cheers!

Sean Yanagi

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Sean Yanagi is a talented chef who gets tattooed by my friend Jill Bonny aka Horiyuki of State of Grace Tattoo Studio. I met him the other day and we got talking about restaurants and cooking. So it was only natural to interview him for this blog!! Read on and find out Sean’s thoughts on food and tattoos! Cheers!

Molly: Tell me a bit about yourself, please include what you are doing now

Sean: My name is Sean Yanagi and currently a line cook. At an early age I’ve always been enriched in food and the culture through family and just a natural curiosity but never really started to cook myself besides a microwave and late night top ramen till my late 20’s. Unwittingly I found cooking as a new hobby, Since then I’ve been hooked. School was really never meant for me so I spent most my career in the bleak hole of retail. After a long and an impassionate day of work I’d come home to cook off works stress and found cooking calming and therapeutic. Cooking a satisfying meal would simmer away all the loathing I had in the day’s work of retail. I decided I wanted to cook as a profession and once I started I felt right at home, working with people that actually had passion for what they do and worked to at least their best abilities. These eccentric, oddball misfits was an environment of people I felt at ease with where I can speak my mind and keep it real no bullshit aside. “By the ticket, take the ride” so to speak

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M: I always loved that about cooking, every kitchen is a motley crew! What is your favorite thing to cook?

S: My favorite thing to cook is anything low and slow to some good music, like cooking up some Gumbo to the sounds of Sidney Bechet or a nice Bolognese relaxing to some Pavarotti.

M: Woah, cool!  When did you get your first tattoo?

S: i got my first tattoo when i was 21, i wanted something i would not regret so i got my last name

M: Nice! Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

S: The work that really caught my eye was from Jill Horiyuki Bonny. When looking for Japanese style tattooing I really appreciated her attention to detail, her work with color and classic style in her art. I also admire Takahiro Horitaka Kitamura, Luke Stewart for Japanese art and Jun Cha for black and grey all artist I’d like to get work from done.

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M: Thos are all really great artists and people! Do you go to any convention, if so which ones?

S: None

M: Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?

S: I feel cooking and the art of tattooing come together well because each has its creativity, freedom, culture, history and boldness, all ingredients that on the  palate bind well together naturally.

M:  What is your next tattoo gona be?

S: I’m in the progress for getting a 3 quarter sleeve Japanese cherry Blossoms in the wind

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M: What cooking magazines do you read?

S: Bon Appetit and Food and Wine

M: Love those! Do you own any tattoo magazines?

S: None

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M: Any cooking advice for a novice?

S: Always prep ingredients ahead of time before you start cooking called “Mise en Place” you’ll find the cooking experience more enjoyable and learn more from it. Also use your instincts, if you feel something is not right change it remember its just cooking have some fun with it.

Sean gave us an amazing recipe for beef yakiniku! Yakiniku is grilled beef Korean style and its one of my personal favorites! Thank you Sean!!

*Sorry I measure my ingredients by eye  so if you don’t feel comfortable you can buy pre made Yakiniku sauce at the Japanese market

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Yanagi’s Beef Yakiniku With Shishito Peppers

  • Flank Steak (or sliced Flat meat specifically for Yakiniku at the Japanese market) Preferred

Yakiniku Glaze and marinade

  • Japanese Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Sake
  • Mirin
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Minced Ginger
  • Minced Garlic
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Japanese Spices(Shichimi Togarashi)
  • Scallions
  • Hondashi
  • Black n White Sesame(for garnish)

1.               mix all ingredients and steak into zip locked bag and marinade for at least 4 hours

2.               mix another batch of Yakiniku sauce and cook to reduce in a sauce pot to make a nice glaze(add corn starch mixed with cold water if sauce hasn’t thicken enough)*make sure there are no m

lumps in corn starch mixture

3.               Grill beef to your liking.

4.               lay beef over a bed of Japanese rice and drizzle with Yakiniku Glaze then add a layer of sautéed Shishito Pepper and zest Yuzu on top

Sautéed Shishito Peppers

  • Shishito Peppers( Sliced)
  • Kumquat(Thinly sliced)
  • Oil
  • Yuzu zest
  • Ponzu sauce
  • Shichimi Togarashi
  • Scallions

1.     Heat oil in sauté pan on medium high heat, add peppers, scallions and Shichimi Togarashi spice when oil is hot.

2.     cook until peppers are slightly still crunchy to the bit

3.     add kumquat, yuzu and ponzu sauce to mix in and turn off heat and set aside

 

sean tokyo

Thank you Sean!!!!

Send us your tattoo photos or recipes, we want to feature you!

http://www.knivesandneedlesblog.com

@knivesandneedles

Cheers!!

Quick Spaghetti w/ leeks, chile, & 2 cheeses.

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This is one of my go-to quick pasta dishes. Super easy and with little prep work, it’s perfect for when you don’t feel like spending a lot of time making dinner.

I used: (if I can remember correctly)
2 leeks, thinly sliced
A pound of spaghetti
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 Thai chile peppers (has a nice kick)
A few dried peppers
A nice sized knob of unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper
A few cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pecarino romano
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano
So start off by melting the butter in the olive oil. Add the leeks and cook them til they’re wilted. Then throw the garlic, Thai chile, lemon juice, and dried chiles in there. Cook for a few minutes.

When it starts to smell amazing, throw in the cheeses. When they start to melt toss in the cooked spaghetti with some of the boiling liquid. Toss on low heat until the pasta is all coated.

Serve in a shallow bowl. Top with more parmigiano and fresh black pepper. I couldn’t find my cheese grater so I had to use my knife haha.

I apologize if I left anything out, I’ve had a few glasses of Chianti. Cheers!

Tattoo Tuesday

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Tattoo Tuesday by Chris Mercer!!  Thank you Chris!!

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

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

@knivesandneedles

Cheers!

Tomatoes

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Well October has arrived and what better way to start the scariest month of the year than to bring up the creepy, scary tomato. What do you mean the scary tomato, you ask? Well for over 200 hundred years the tomato was considered an inedible and poisonous plant. The tomato was dangerous food to eat as many people wound up sick after eating the fruit. This was because at that time aristocrats ate off of mostly pewter plates with pewter utensils. Lead in the pewter broke down and leeched into the highly acidic tomatoes.  This obviously led to lead poisoning (ba da bum ching!). The tomato was considered a Solanceae plant in Europe, the same category as the mandrake or the deadly nightshade (deadly and ominous plants). Tomatoes did not shed its infamous rep until around the 1800’s around the time the pizza was invented in Italy.

The plump veggie/fruit had a much better reputation in Mesoamerica, where they originated. Ironically, Tomatoes were brought to Europe by early explorers and brought back to the Americas with the Italians who paid little attention to their reputation and regularly enjoyed eating them. Thus the pizza, thank you Italy!

The name, tomato, comes from the Aztec word, tomatl. And In German history, the tomato was thought to conjure werewolves and was integral in lycanology. Creepy!

Nutritionally tomatoes are the ‘renaissance man’ of nutrition. Tomatoes are jam-packed with Vitamins A, C, K, B6, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and potassium. They help fight sun damage to your hair, skin, improve bone mass, and are a natural cancer fighter.  The tomato also regulates blood sugar and is an anti-inflammatory. What a talented food!

Lastly, there are many varieties of tomatoes. Many, many, many, many varieties. There are literally too many to name! Here is a good resource to read up on the different varieites, http://njaes.rutgers.edu/tomato-varieties/.  You will be surprised on how many there actually are! Choosing ripe tomatoes is not that difficult. Make sure the skin is unbroken and intact and the tomato should be plump yet firm not squishy or too juicy. The squishy ones will be good for cooking sauces or soups with, however.

One more note: the acid from tomatoes and the lining of cans (BPA or Bisphenal-A ) are not a good mix. It is more of a health risk with fetuses, infants and small children. So buy glass canned tomatoes whenever possible!!

Her is my recipe for basic tomato sauce, it never fails to impress people! And you can freeze it!

1- 1 1/4c olive oil

10 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

4 yellow onions, roughly chopped

4-6 fresh Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 TBLS dried oregano

1 tsp dried chili flakes

1/4c red wine

4 16oz jars of glass jarred tomatoes (I found them at Costco of all places!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1/2c of the olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium-high. Add the garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes, and chili flakes. Let the onions sweat until they are starting to turn translucent and become soft. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol, about 2-3 minutes. When the alcohol is cooked off, add the jarred tomatoes and bring the sauce to a very slow simmer. It should bubble every 2-3 seconds, not a full rolling simmer. Turn the heat down and let slowly simmer for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, transfer to a blender or use a hand blender and puree the sauce smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now let the sauce cool and then divide it into plastic containers in portions you will eat later and place in the freezer. Enjoy!!

Get out and buys some tomatoes today and enoy this amazing food!!

Cheers!

Photo by the lovely Michelle Roberts!!

If you have a recipe or tattoo you would like to share, contact us at knivesandneedlesblog.com

Peas

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Peas are a classic side dish where I grew up. And I bet many people could say the same. This may be because the pea is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. Archeologists say man as far back as 5,000 years have been eating the tiny green orbs. Over time cultivating them into a thousand different varieties around the world.

The origin of peas was hard to track down but most sources have quoted the Middle Asia and Near East regions from the north of India to Afghanistan and Iran to be ancient centers for agricultural development. The earliest evidence of pea consumption is said to be a cave in the Thai and Burmese border.

A few examples of pea usage through the ages:

Dishes like pea soup made from dried pea varieties were sold on the streets in ancient Greece.

The Chinese grew smaller peas and they could be eaten whole and raw.

The British bred many varieties, including white and yellow peas.

And the pea was the first vegetable to be canned. 

Peas can be eaten raw, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, stuffed into pastries, or in soup. They are very low in fat and high in phytonutrients which can lower the risk of stomach cancer and work as an anti-inflammatory. They are also a sustainable vegetable. Planting peas can give soil important nutrients and can be great for crop rotation. Yay for peas!

 

 Here is a recipe for one of my favorite ways to eat peas, good ol’ fashioned split pea soup!

 

Split Pea Soup

 

1/8c olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tbls dried oregano

2 carrots, medium diced

2 celery sticks, medium diced

4 red potatoes, medium diced

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 pound dried split peas

8c chicken or vegetable stock

½ pound thick cut bacon or ham, medium slices

Salt and pepper to taste

 Place a large enough stockpot (maybe about 4-5 quart stockpot) on the stove and turn the heat on medium high. Add the olive oil and let it heat up for about a minute. Add the onion, garlic, and oregano. Let the onions sweat for 2-3 minutes or until they start to turn translucent. Then add the carrots, celery, and potatoes. Add the salt and pepper and let them sauté for 2-3 minutes. After the vegetables have cooked for a couple minutes, add half of the split peas, chicken stock/vegetable stock and bacon/ham. Turn the stove up to high and bring to a light simmer. Turn heat down and simmer for 35 minutes. There will be some foam while the soup simmers, skim the foam off with a ladle or spoon. At the end of the 35 minutes, add the rest of the peas and keep the soup simmering for another 45 minutes or until the peas are at the desired softness. Stir the soup once in a while to keep the vegetables and meat from sticking to the pot. Salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with oyster crackers or a nice chunk of bread. Great for those winter nights, and it freezes nicely so make tons!

 

Photo by the talented Michelle Roberts, thanks Michelle!

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