Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “art”

Rob Struven

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Rob Struven is definitely one great guy and definitely one talented tattooer. He also happens to have his shop, Garage Ink, in the heart of Napa Valley, California. Napa Valley is a destination spot for foodies and wine connoisseurs as the area is known for wine making and California cuisine, notably the world-famous French Laundry and Morimotos. And Garage Ink is a tattoo oasis within this food and wine mecca. So it was only natural that I would want to write about Rob and his love for food!

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Rob has a gluten allergy, so his diet can be pretty specific. It is interesting to cook for special diets or turning classic dishes into suitable dishes for specific diets. Rob is an inspiration to anyone who has to make the best out of eating a restricted diet. I always see him getting creative and it never looks as if what he is eating is boring or flavorless. What a fun and rewarding challenge!

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Rob’s wife, Ginger (who is of Italian decent), was kind enough to give me an old family recipe to share with your guys today. She has done an amazing job transforming this family heirloom recipe into something gluten free and organic. Go Ginger! Please read on and check out this delicious recipe for gluten free and organic spaghetti with meat sauce, you wont regret it!

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Gluten Free, organic spaghetti and meat sauce

1 pound ground beef

1 medium yellow onion

1 large bell pepper or 2 smaller ones

2 14oz jars diced tomatoes or fresh tomatoes if available

8 oz crimini mushrooms

7 oz jar tomato paste

4-6 large garlic cloves

4 tps worcestershire sauce

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp chili powder or more if you like heat

1 tsp salt or to taste

2 tsp pepper or to taste

2 bay leaf

Fresh shaved or grated parmesan cheese

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Brown ground beef with minced garlic, drain.

Sauté bell peppers and onion in olive oil.

Combine meat, bell peppers and onion in large pot.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, worcestershire, all spices and mushrooms.

Simmer on very low heat for approx. 3 hours, stirring frequently.  Tastes even better the next day!

Serve with any gluten free pasta, spaghetti squash or zucchini “noodles”.

Top with parmesan. enjoy!

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Thank you so much Rob and Ginger! For more of Rob and Garage Ink, catch them at:

http://www.garageinktattoo.com

@garageinktattoostudios_napa

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Garage-ink-studios/142539032452465

If you have a food tattoo or recipe you would like to share, IG us or email us at:

@knivesandneedles

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Cheers and enjoy!

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LIzette Gonzalez

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I am super stoked to introduce Lizette Gonzalez today! She is an incredible talent, a beautiful girl and a woman who knows whats she wants! Check out her interview and get inspired to bake your ass of!

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Molly: Tell us about yourself, background and what you are doing now.

Lizette: My name is Lizette Gonzalez.  I am a Chef de Partie (Pastry), residing in Las Vegas but originally from Rosemead, California.  I’ve been baking since the age of 6.  I grew up baking and making cakes galore with my mom in our kitchen at home.  She has taught me so much.  It’s because of her, I am the gal I am today.  I am a proud member of Cutthroat Culinary.  The ideas, convictions, and passion this group has towards the art of what we do amaze and inspire me every day.  I’m currently in the process of starting my own cake business, and possibly a catering business on the side.  I am not your average person, I am different.  I know who I am and what I want.  Every day I am challenged, I learn, and I continue to grow.  Every day I am that much closer to achieving my dream.

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M: Wow! Strong-minded person, very cool! When did you start getting tattooed?

L: It was the summer of 2004, I was 19

 

M: So what was your first tattoo?

L: It was 3 little music notes, the size of a quarter.  Later on it became part of a musical piece.

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M: What inspired you to get it and to get more?

L: I was anxious and nervous about my first tattoo, I did not just want anything, and it had to have a story… a meaning.  This may sound cliché, but it is very true.  Music has always been a part of my life since day 1.  In all that I do I’m always surrounded by music.  I listen to almost everything and anything.  From my rock ‘n roll and jazz, to hip hop and alternative.  And let’s not forget my Mexican music.  From this the ideas of self expression bloomed.

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“A picture is worth a thousand words”.  All I ever wanted to do was to tell my stories.  Show the world how and why I am the person I became to be.  So much thought has been put into each piece as well as the placement.  For example; My “smile” tattoo created by my beautiful niece, Gina, was originally drawn by her.  Gina has a form of Down Syndrome.  Each day that she is with us is a blessing, as she wasn’t suppose to see past 2 and now she is going strong at 25.  She is my heart and she inspires me.  This tattoo is very visible and those who have noticed it, smile.  Not only has Gina impacted me, but those around me as well, with just a simple smile J.  That joy and happiness people get from seeing this tattoo has the power to change a bad day into something wonderful.  That’s more than I could ever ask for.

There is so much more to share, I’m far from being done with telling my story.

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M: Very touching and interesting! Why do you think so many chefs are heavily tattooed?

L: We express our minds, our feelings, and convictions through our food.  It’s our art, our passion, our story.  Tattoos are another way to show our freedom to express our ideas and emotions through another form of art.  It’s a beautiful thing.

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M: Do you own any tattoo magazines, if so which ones?

L: Inked and Tattoo.  On Facebook I’m following Addicted to Ink, and Inked and Sexy, and Women with Ink.

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M: Nice! Who do you admire in the tattoo industry? Do you have a tattoo done by him/her?

L: Tim Mueller of Tim Mueller’s Secret Tattoo and Charly Reynoso of Black Diamond Tattoo.  These two artists have a gift in what they do.  I’ve been blessed to have crossed paths with these guys and be able to call them friends.  I have gotten work done by Charly, and I’m currently getting work done by Tim.  It’s amazing to see them work.  Without having to say much they know the ideas and concepts of what I want, and with that I allow them to have the freedom to add their artistic twist to the piece.

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Thank you Lizette!! Its always nice to interview talented people who have something to say and thank you all for taking the time to read our little blog : ) !!

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Lizette shared an amazing recipe; check it out, try it out, tell us about how it went!

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Baguettes with a Twist

Poolish Prefrement

Bread Flour       5.5 oz

Hi-Gluten Flour   5.5 oz

Water                11 oz

Fresh Yeast      5 grams

Combine bread flour, hi-gluten flour, water and yeast. Mix until water is incorporated and the consistency is smooth.

Cover product so that it does not form a skin.

Ferment over night in walk-in

Baguettes

Poolish

Star Anise      ¼ tsp

Honey             1 oz

Vanilla Extract  1 ½ tsps

Salt                 1 TBS

Cranberries   5 oz

Cinnamon      3 tsp

Poppy Seeds 3.5 oz

Infuse ¼ tsp star anise in half of the water.

Combine poolish, water, water infused with star anise, yeast, bread flour, honey, vanilla extract and salt. Mix at a low speed for 3 minutes (scrape bowl after 2 minutes)

Continue to mix dough at a medium for 2-3 minutes.

Divide the dough into three equal parts. Add ingredients as follo

Dough 1: Add 2.5 oz cranberries

Dough 2: Add 2.5 oz cranberries and 1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Dough 3: Add 1 ½ tsp cinnamon

In a well-oiled container, cover each of the three doughs, with plastic wrap, and ferment in a warm environment until the internal temperature reaches 75ºF. Stretch and fold after 45 minutes. Total fermentation will be 1.5 hours.

Once fermentation is complete, scale 4 equal strands from each of the 3 doughs (making 12 strands all together). Spray strands from doughs 1 and 3 with water and cover with poppy seeds. Pre-shape into mini baguetttes and let sit for 20-30 minutes, covered in plastic wrap.

Braid 3 strands (one from each different dough mixture) forming 4 different loaves.

Optional  Once braided, shape the braided dough into the form of a wreath. (Do this to all 4 loaves).

Proof for about 40 minutes

Bake at 400ºF (with steam). Bake for 20-25 minutes

Cool down and enjoy!!

Cream Cheese Topping

Cream Cheese, softened    16 oz

Powdered Sugar             1 ½ cups

Vanilla Extract                1 TBS

Combine all ingredients and mix until well blended

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Thank you Lizette again! You can check out more of Lizette and her creations at:

IG: @l1zzyg03

FB: http://www.facebook.com/lizette.gonzales.311

If you have a food tattoo or recipe you would like to share, please contact us at either

knivesandneedles@gmail.com or @knivesandneedles on IG.

Cheers!!

Jacob Lyons

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Jacob Lyons is one talented chef !!  Read on and see what makes Jacob tick… and get tattooed!

Molly: Tell me about your background and a little bit about what you are doing now.

Jacob: My name is Jacob Lyons I am a caterer and personal Chef  from the Florida keys. I am a member of Cutthroat Culinary, I represent for  the 1%er chefs  pushing the envelope of the culinary scene.  I grew up in restaurants with my pops, absorbing as much knowledge as I could and began creating my own dishes at the age of twelve. I continue to learn and develop daily. I have a high passion for cooking, and I appreciate the artistry in this industry and feel as if there is no limits in between. The transformation of ingredients to the finished product is a story within the journey. In 2010 I received a culinary expertise award. As of now I am currently working on finalizing a seafood blend which will be available online, as well as a couple of pop ups i am still in the planning stages. And I am leaning towards a food truck to share my passion with the masses and ultimately see where my knives take me…. The future is now.

M: So what was your first tattoo?

J: My first tattoo was done at my house while my mom was out of town. I got the word KREW In old English writing. it’s an acronym for Knowledge Reigns Especially Wisdom, Something i made up listening to a lot of Nas.

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M: Haha, I love Nas! Do you still have it?

J: Yes its on my right arm

M: Why do you think so many chefs are so heavily tattooed? Is there some sort of connection?

J: I feel chefs are heavily tattooed because of the art that correlates between food and tattoos. There is an underlying love for the both. They coexist perfectly being rebellious from thought to action. I mean most tattoos tell stories or are in remembrance of something. In cooking we tell stories on a plate our form of canvas and skin and ink is to the tattooist what ingredients and preparation are to us culinary minds.

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M: Totally get the memory thing. A particular dish definitely can be an homage to one thing or another from that chef’s mind. I can see that connecting with tattoos. If you could get tattooed by any tattooer in the world right now, who would it be and why?

J: It’s going to sound crazy but i’d say Cesar from Black Ink in New York, I respect his hustle and grind as far as urban artists goes plus he’s got dope ink abilities.

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M: What is your next tattoo going to be?

J: That is a great question I am probably going with a bed of seaweed with oysters on half shells and halved lemons!

M: Yum! One last tattooer question: Who do you admire in the tattoo industry?

J: I like Nikko Hurtado ,Yoji Harada, Chris Garver, Henk Schiffmacher, Caesar from Black Ink. I admire all artists though I pull inspiration from everywhere. I remember listening to a song where the lyric was “So Tell the kids to keep coloring outside the lines and lose their limitations till there minds are free.” I find admiration in the art industry period. I love it.

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I can totally agree. Thank you Mr. Lyons, for taking the time with knivesandneedlesblog! Now for the goodness…  Jacob was kind enough to share a mouth-watering recipe! Read on…

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Chili-Lime Mango Grilled Chicken Bao

(Bao Dough Recipe)

1 package dried yeast or 1 cake fresh yeast

1 cup lukewarm water

4 1/2 cups flour

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Crisco or vegetable oil

1/2 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons sesame seed oil

Preparation:

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water. Add 1 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly. Cover with cloth. Let rise 1 hour, until bubbles appear.

Dissolve sugar and vegetable oil in 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir well. Cool until lukewarm. Pour into yeast mixture. Add 3 1/2 cups flour.

Knead dough on lightly floured board until smooth. Put into extra large, greased bowl in a warm place. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

Divide into 2 portions. Remove first portion and knead 2 minutes. Repeat with second. Roll each into roll 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut into 12 pieces (24 total).

Flatten each piece with palm of hand. Roll with rolling pin into 3 inch circles.

Brush with sesame seed oil. Indent middle of circle with chopstick. Fold circle in half so that it becomes a half moon. Crimp edges tightly with fork.

Place each roll on separate square piece of foil on steamer tray. Cover tray with towel. Let buns rise to double in bulk, about 30 minutes. Remove towel.

Steam, tightly covered, over briskly boiling water for 10 minutes. Serve with Peking Duck, Crispy Duck, or with any filling you desire. May be prepared in advance. May be frozen. Thaw out in plastic bag and re-steam 10 minutes.

Chili Lime Mango Sauce:

1 6 0z Package Chili Mango Candy

1/2 cup ketchup

A few splashes soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh chopped ginger

1/4 cup lime juice

Add all ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer till candy breaks down and becomes smooth continue to cook on low heat to meld the flavors.

Quick Pickled Cabbage:

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 head of red cabbage

1 plum diced

2 cloves garlic finely chopped

Add all ingredients to a bowl and let chill.

Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts and grill over medium high heat glazing with the chili lime mango bbq sauce assemble with the steamed buns add more sauce and finish with pickled cabbage and plums

And you have an amazing asian fusion dish.

Try it at home, let us know how it turned out!

For more on Chef Jacob Lyons:

JJ Ace Catering & Personal Chef

DISTRICT DINE

Chef Jacob Lyons

863.202.6540

JJAceCatering.webs.com

If you are a tattooed chef or a foodie tattooer, we would love to interview you! We love sharing talent with the world!

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Have a great day!

Cheers!

Tattoo Tuesday

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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!

knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Thank you, have a great day!

Ian Marks!

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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!

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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

Salt

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

Salsa:

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.

Assembly…

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!

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Enjoy

Ian

Adam of Bright Side Chef Catering

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Brynne recently conducted this fun interview with a super talented chef, Adam of Bright Side Chef Catering! Check it out and don’t miss his mouth-watering recipe at the end : )

Brynne: So Adam, tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been a chef?

Adam: I live in Phoenix, Arizona and have been living here for 18 years. I have been cooking and working in kitchens for about 16 years. I went to culinary school about three years ago and haven’t taken it seriously (as a career) until then.  I got a job as an executive chef right out of culinary school.  I was lucky because that is rarely the case.

B: You own a business called Bright Side Chef? What do you guys do?

A: I own Brightside Chef Catering.  We do your typical catering jobs; weddings, parties, private dining, office luncheons, etc. I also own a food truck “frank.”, in which we specialize in gourmet hot dogs. Who doesn’t like hot dogs? These are more what I do on the side. My “day job” is I am the executive chef for two restaurants in Scottsdale and Chandler. The Skeptical Chymist and Fibber Magees, both under the same ownership. I try to stay busy J

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B: What was your first tattoo, and how old were you when you got it?

A: My first tattoo was a music note on my left wrist. My sister got it for me for a birthday present.

B: What initially drew you to tattoos?

A: I grew up listening to punk rock.  I eventually played in a punk rock band. Most people who listen or play punk rock have tattoos. So I grew up seeing all my music idols with tattoos. I thought it was rad.

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B: Why do you think tattooing is so prevalent in the culinary industry?

A: Being a chef you are very expressive in what you do. You create something, put it on a plate in your own style, and serve it to someone. It’s a common trend with artistic professions. I say artistic because I believe the culinary world is as artistic as the music world or art world. You see musicians, chefs, artists with tattoos. All of those express themselves in someway, they wear their heart on their sleeve and tattoos are just that. A visual way to express yourself.

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B: Do you have a favorite tattoo? Who did it?

A: It’s hard to pick a favorite, it is kind of like picking your favorite child. However the most meaningful one is of an “A” I have tattooed on my bicep.  “A” standing for my last name and I got it tattooed at the same time with my brother. He got the same “A” on his back. Family is a big deal to me, if not the most important thing.  We are still waiting on my sister however to gather the courage to get it.

B: Do you have any especially memorable tattoo experiences? For example, something funny that happened while getting tattooed or a meaningful experience?

A: One of the people I look up to is Johnny Cupcakes. If you don’t know him he is a tshirt designer.  You can check him out at www.johnnycupcakes.com.  He has multiple stores as well as his online store. But I don’t respect him for the shirts he designs but for the journey he took to get there. Long story short he created his tshirt business plan as a school project and failed. Dropped out of school, created his tshirt company, is now a millionaire and has stores all over the world. Not that money is everything but just showing that if you really want to do something, and you really put your mind to it, you can do it. I sent him an email asking some questions about starting a business and he actually responded with a lengthy email answering my questions. I was actually really surprised he actually responded let alone one in such detail. He also tours around the US doing lectures at Universities about business as well as going to stores himself and selling tshirts. I went to one here and Phoenix and met him. His logo is a cupcake with crossbones and I got that on me after he drew it on me.

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B: What, if any, are your future tattoo plans?

A: I have a couple in mind. I have been wanting to get a Boba Fett tattoo for a while now. I am a huge Star Wars fan and he has always been my favorite character. I also recently broke my ankle in a mosh pit (I know I’m too old for that), however I now have a gnarly scar where they put a plate in. I want to get a steam punk tattoo on my ankle since I am now part robot. J

B: Any advice for a novice in the kithcen?

A: Don’t get frustrated. Like anything it takes practice. If you mess up try it again. Also, as we call it in the culinary world, “mice en place”, meaning “putting in place”. Basically it means have everything ready and prepped before you start cooking.  That way you can concentrate on cooking and not be like “Oh crap, I forgot to cut up the onions, now the garlic is burning”.  Also read the recipe before you start doing anything. Its all about being in control.

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B: Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with our readers?

A: I usually don’t make vegetarian dishes but I made this one the other day and it was actually really good

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 Eggplant Cannelloni with Romesco sauce and herb oil

For Romesco sauce

1         1/2 medium tomato

2         2 slices French bread

3         2 medium garlic cloves, peeled

4         1/4 cup whole raw almonds

5         1 ½ cup roasted red peppers

6         2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

7         1/4 cup olive oil

8         1 teaspoon kosher salt

9         1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. Arrange the tomato, garlic, bread, and almonds on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until the bread and almonds are lightly toasted, about 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Transfer the roasted ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the roasted red peppers, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and paprika and pulse again until well combined and relatively smooth.  Check for seasoning

For the Herb Oil

1 bunch of fresh parsley

1 bunch of cilantro

4 ounces basil

3 cloves garlic

1 cup olive oil

1.      Add ingredients in a blender and puree until well blended.

For Cannelloni

1 Eggplant (medium)

1 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sauteed

1 pint ricotta

1 bag spinach, sauteed

1 cup enoki mushrooms, sauteed

Micro greens – to garnish

Salt and pepper

Cooking spray

1.      Set oven on low broil

2.      Slice eggplant lengthwise in ½ inch slices

3.      Place eggplant on sheet pan. On both sides, season with salt and pepper, and spray with cooking spray.

4.      Place in oven and cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.

5.      Remove from oven and on one side add a couple tablespoons of ricotta, cremini mushrooms and spinach. Roll up into the cannelloni and place back on the sheet pan with the “seam” side down.

6.      Set oven to bake at 350.

7.      Bake in oven for 5-6 minutes or until the cheese is warm through.

8.      Spoon romesco sauce on plate, place cannelloni on top, and garnish with micro greens and herb oil.

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Thank you Adam, this sounds amazing!!

Here is some contact info for Adam

Contact info: www.brightsidechef.com. Email:chef@brightsidechef.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/brightsidechef

If you have a recipe or food tattoo you would like to share let us promote you and your work inside the studio or kitchen!! Send it to us at knivesandneedles@gmail.com

Thank you and enjoy!!

Luke Wessman

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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For more of Luke’s work, check out lukewessman.com!

Ellen Murphy

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Ellen murphy

Ellen Murphy is not only a tattoo artist who loves food, but she is one inspriational girl. We recently chatted about her love for food and what inspires her eating habits. Here is what she had to say, so read on!

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M: How long have you been tattooing?

E: I started my apprenticeship in late 2004.

 

M: Do you tattoo anyone thats a chef?

E: I have worked on a lot of chefs and people who work in the food and restaurant industry and it’s a good thing because I usually guide the conversation to food sooner or later.

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M: In all your talks with culinary professionals, have you noticed a correlation between the tattoo and culinary industries?

E: I Have! A lot of Tattooers seem to be Foodies and Visa Versa. Tattooers and chefs both have jobs with long hours that kick the shit out of them but they love it. And what better way to reward yourself after a long day than to lean back and have someone serve you a fucking awesome meal made by people who care about what they are doing and using real fresh food. I’m sure people feel the same way when they get tattooed by some rad tattooer who gives a shit about what goes into their body.

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M:  Interesting! So, what is your fondest food related memory?

E: Picking and eating wild blueberries in the woods as a kid. My mother grew up eating what they could find so she taught us to forage for wild food. We used to pull over on the side of the highway and cut the bark off bayberry trees or collect wild red clover for tea.

 

M: Uh, that is amazing. Seriously cool. And what is your favorite style of food?

E: I would have to say Asian and Middle Eastern. Both tend to have good flavor and simple healthy ingredients. Honestly though…I love all food. Ramen, Pho’ and Sushi are a big staple in my diet. At home I usually just eat fruits and vegetables. Raw foods.

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M: Yeah raw foods are really good for you. I’ve noticed tattooers eat at odd hours most of the time because of their jobs, how do you balance your diet with your work schedule?

E: It’s hard to be healthy at a tattoo shop. When everyone else is getting fried chicken and biscuits your bean salad doesn’t look so good anymore. I save the real gluttony for when I’m not working. I eat mostly vegan gluten free during the week and everything else on the off days. I also go to the gym 4 days a week and yoga plus walk 30-90 minutes a day. Sitting on your ass for a living and eating when you have five minutes every five hours can really make it hard to have a healthy diet.

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M: You live on the East Coast, any restaurant recommendations?

E: I have a few of them. But the one that really stands out is Coppa in the south end of Boston. It’s an Italian restaurant and the Chef is Jamie Bissonette. He uses every part of the animal you can think of.  Some of my favorite things I have had there were calves brain ravioli and chestnut pasta with a boar ragu. Vinegar bleached sardines and a pig’s tail braised with a honey glaze and Ethiopian spices. I could go on and on and on…….

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M: That sounds like heaven! You travel a lot for work and just in general. What do you end up eating, anything interesting?

E: Whenever you go to a convention or a shop somewhere else, the first thing people want to do is show you where they like to eat. Or find the best place to get good food in town. Not Applebees and TGI Fridays.

Going from place to place makes you interested in the culture and a big part of culture is in food. First thing I wanna do when I get off the plane is eat. It’s what I think about most of the day haha!  And if you don’t want to starve in other countries you eat what they have when they have it.

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When I was in San Francisco last year I went to a really great sushi place called Tekka. It’s so awesome. You have to wait outside in line for an hour or so before they open. And they have 10 seats and only two seating’s a night. There’s one guy making the sushi and his wife serves the drinks. It was so quiet you could hear a mouse fart in there and all of a sudden he turns the TV on and Johnny cash Live at Fulsome prison starts playing. The sushi was awesome and the cuts were as big as my fist. There was a sign above the chef that basically said, we make it the way we want and you will eat it like that and like it or get the fuck out. Genius.

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Once in Japan I ate a sashimi fish at a restaurant where you catch your own. It was still moving while I was chewing on it. That was interesting.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on food, Ellen, suddenly I feel like hitting the gym!

Ellen Murphy recipe

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 Sautéed Tofu on Quinoa and lemon pepper asparagus

 Ingredients

Extra firm tofu

Agave nectar

Chili powder

Salt

Pepper

Quinoa

Asparagus

Lemon

Olive oil

Method 

First, bring one cup of water to a boil. Add 1/2cup quinoa to water. Stir and then lower heat to simmer and keep covered for 15 minutes. While that’s cooking

Drain Tofu and press it in between two paper towels to make it less soggy.

Then cut it into cubes. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to frying pan and bring to medium heat. Then add Tofu. Once the tofu starts to cook, add a few tablespoons of agave nectar, 1teaspoon of chili powder and a few pinches of salt. Stir around every few minutes until browned a bit on all sides.

In a separate pan add one teaspoon of olive oil. Then add Asparagus. Let sear for a minute or so and then squeeze half a lemon into the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Then cover on medium heat for two minutes.

Plate asparagus and quinoa. Add tofu to quinoa. Done!

Enjoy and happy eating!

photos courtesy of Ellen Murphy

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!

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“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.”

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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

Ingredients

1 six-pound roasting chicken
Olive Oil
Cummin
tumeric
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
Directions-

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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 🙂

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

Debra Yarian

I have been so fortunate to meet some amazing people in the tattoo industry, and one of them I really look up to is Debra. She’s been tattooing for longer than I’ve been alive, and her accomplishments in her work and family life are truly impressive. Her demeanor is so sweet and comforting, when she tattooed me at the last SFO convention I felt like we were just old friends having a lunch date! When she told me she would like to contribute to our blog, I was so excited to get more of a glimpse into her life and family, and how she seamlessly balances the two. Deb, thank you for sharing with us; and for doing all you do as a tattooer, wife, mother and grandmother!

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Brynne- How long have you been tattooing?
Debra Yarian- I’ve been tattooing for 34 years.

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B-You have beautiful large family, with a few of your kids tattooing now! Can you tell us a bit about your family dynamic, and how tattooing has played a role in it?
DY-I love my family and I love tattooing -So my life revolves around the two.
My oldest son was practically born in a tattoo shop and when my second one was born my boss let me bring both of them with me to work. Prior to opening our own shop, Don and I worked opposing shifts at the same shop, six nights a week. We still had four children at home so that way either Don or I , was there to have dinner with them and usually we’d all go out to dinner on our day off.
We’ve owned our own shop for almost five years and that’s really a family affair. Both my husband and I and two of our sons tattoo there and another son has worked the floor, throughout highschool. Initially we had a small “family” room set up for our younger children to come to after school, a place for them to do homework, watch tv and play. We’ve since changed that to a third station for my older son. Now though, with the extra responsibilities of owning our shop and additional time spent there , we wind up either having to prepare meals ahead of time or going out to dinner. Often a few nights a week.

B- What is your fondest food related memory?
DY-All of my food related memories are fond ones, ha ha! I love to eat!
Really though, I grew up in NYC and neither of my parent’s were great cooks, just simple meal preparers. But fortunately we had so many great restaurants in our neighborhood. On our one city block there was an Italian restaurant, a Chinese take out, a pizza place, a German Deli, A confectionary, 4 candy stores w soda fountains , a bakery, a fruit and vegetable store , a butcher shop, a small supermarket as well as two bar and grills. One of the bars was a stereotypical NY Neighborhood bar, and at the time The legal drinking age was still 18. I looked older than my age and I hate to say it but by the time I was 16-17 I had a tab at the bar. As I said it was just a typical neighborhood bar , tile floors, long wooden bar , a juke box- but at the back there were swinging doors, and through the doors there was a beautiful and charming little gourmet restaurant. The owner was a classically trained chef and had worked as a pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria. I remember it was very small with mismatched antique furniture, with white linen table cloths, with candles and fresh flowers on each table. So, I had left school early and was working two jobs, as a waitress and coffee wagon lady during the week and as a cocktail waitress on the weekends. I was probably making more money then than I do now! Anyway, a girlfriend and I would have dinner there every week . It was my first solo dining experiences, without my parents and remember feeling grown up and sophisticated.
The menu would change, but I remember their chilled cream of cucumber soup, simple salad – dressed w Green Goddess ; parsley, tarragon, chives and sour cream, Quiche Lorraine, Coq au vin. The dinner would typically cost us about $50 , which in retrospect seems astronomical- but it was the whole experience. The setting, the candle light, the aroma. And the chef would come out of the kitchen and visit with each table. Every week he’d bring something special from the kitchen for us to try. Each fall, the restaurant would close for one night a week and for four or five weeks they would have cooking classes- where they would teach you how to prepare a five course meal and then you got to sit down and eat it.My friend and I took the course-figuring it would save us money and we’d learn how to prepare some of the dishes we love. I learned how to make delicious desserts, my favorites being Trifle Chantilly- multiple thin layers of sponge cake sprnkled with Grand Marnier, apricot preserves, toasted almonds and fresh whipped cream , and Pears Celestine – a fresh pear stuffed with a mixture of whipped cream cheese and walnuts in syrup ,then dipped in dark chocolate and chilled. The best!
Unfortunately, I no longer have the exact recipes because I lent them to a chef , that I was tattooing, in Florida about 25 yrs ago and have since lost touch .
As an adult, of course, some of my fondest food memories are eating with Don. I had spent the decade, previous to our marriage -dieting and when we first fell in love ,we ate!
The first dinner I made for Don was linguine with broccoli and walnuts, Don hates walnuts – but I wouldn’t have known. And I love when my whole family is together for a meal- any meal that includes Don and our 5 children, our daughter in law , and now our any 4 grandchildren!

B- How do you and your husband, Don, balance work and cooking at home?
DY-Don is a much better cook and baker than I am, mainly because he’s more organized than I am. However, he works at the shop more than I do – so most nights , I cook.

B- Do you have a favorite restaurant, and what makes it stand out for you?
DY-We live in a small town with only a few restaurants. My favorite is Haute Quarter Grill. It’s about a block from our shop.
The menu always includes Alaskan Halibut or Salmon as well as vegetables, locally grown. I enjoy foods simply prepared and have a fairly unsophisticated palette , so whether or not I enjoy a meal is often dependent on the quality of the ingredients.

B- Do you have any chef clients?
DY-Actually, the first shop I worked in was Upstate New York , a town or two over from Poughkeepsie, where the Culinary Institute of America is -and a few of my first tattoos were of chef hats. I have had a few chefs for clients as well as cooks ( military, commercial fishing boat and NorthSlope./ Oil rig cooks.)

B- Have you noticed any correlation between the tattoo and culinary industry?
DY- What I think is that the dedicated chef is passionate about food and cooking and loves what they do- so often it becomes their life vs their job. Not unlike the dedicated tattooist.

B- Living in Alaska, do you have any unique experience with hunting or preparing food?
DY-A lot of our clients hunt and fish and bring us gifts. Right now in my freezer I have the bounty from my hunter and fishermen clients. There’s probably some salmon, halibut, bear, moose and possibly reindeer in there.

B- How important a role does food play in your family life?
DY- Food is love!!! Ha ha, or at least that’s what I was taught.
When we are happy we eat, when we celebrate we eat , and even when we are sad we eat. I remember when I was grieving over a loss, well meaning friends brought food – especially pastries to try to make me feel better. I gained 15 lbs.

B- Do you have a recipe you’d like to share with our readers?
DY- No one would consider me a great cook. But over the years, all of my children and friends have loved my meatballs. That’s their request for a birthday meal or for me to bring to a party.

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Simple meatballs

Ingredients

*2.5-3 lbs of ground meat; beef, moose or elk, or a mix
( if using moose, elk or bear, they are a leaner meat and you may want to add some ground pork to supplement the fat)
*2 eggs
*1 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
(Progresso Panko works well)
*tsp garlic powder or finely minced garlic clove
*kosher or sea salt

Mix all ingredients in large mixing bowl

Hand form meat in to golf ball size balls

Sprinkle small amount of olive oil to coat bottom of large saute pan or skillet

Heat oil at med- high and add meatballs

Brown evenly turning with tongs

When brown all around turn to low and cover, till cooked through, about 10-15 minutes

While meatballs are cooking I slice up a bell pepper, a small onion, a tomato and some mushrooms

Saute all ( except tomato) in pan with small amount of olive oil till onions are brown and carmelized.

Using pan lid , drain liquid from around meatballs and return to burner for 5 minutes at low.

Finish with kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste

I serve without sauce
With fresh bread and the sauteed vegetable and top with fresh mozzarella cheese

Enjoy!

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xoxo

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