Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “healthy”

Grilled chicken and brussel sprouts with spring avocado salad


Recently I escaped New York to the woods of Massachusetts for a little R&R with my family. Although I didn’t bring my eyepatch I did bring a bunch of fresh food! After all the kids went to bed my sister and I made an awesome late night dinner for two.


-3/4 lb brussel sprouts halved

-2 chicken breasts

-1 heirloom tomato

-1 ripe avocado

-fresh basil

-sea salt


-balsamic glaze or vinaigrette

-olive oil

First marinade chicken then place on the grill for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the cut. If you have a meat thermometer it should be done at 165 degrees if boneless. 170 degrees if on the bone. If you don’t have a meat thermometer then cut into the thickest part of the chicken  away from the bone. If the meat is opaque and the juices are clear then it is done.

Put brussel sprouts on a baking sheet with tin foil and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven on 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Then salt and pepper to taste.

Slice tomato and avocado. Add basil (Wash with cold water or a damp paper towel first if not pre rinsed). Arrange it however you like! I like to arrange it so every bite has some of everything. then drizzle some balsamic over it.

Ellen Murphy


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…….


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.


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.


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


 Sautéed Tofu on Quinoa and lemon pepper asparagus


Extra firm tofu

Agave nectar

Chili powder






Olive oil


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

Start it off easy!

Hi everyone! My name is Brynne Palmer. I’m a tattooer out of southern California with a passion for food. Molly has asked me to collaborate with her on this amazing platform, and I’m so excited to bring you my cooking experience, and learn a lot along the way!
For my first post, I though I’d begin with a simple favorite that’s a go to for any starter. Caprese! Whether you’d like an appetizer for a dinner party, a salad to compliment a savory meal, or just a late night snack, this easy recipe can be whipped up in just a few minutes.

You’ll need:
2 vine ripened tomatoes
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the tomatoes into 4 slices each, and arrange on plate.
Top each tomato slice with a slice of mozzarella
Top each mozzarella slice with a proportionately sized leaf of basil
Lightly drizzle each caprese with olive oil and balsamic (I personally drench them)
Finish with a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper
And just like that, you’re ready to impress!


Another reason I love this recipe is because there are so may ways to change it up. Burrata cheese instead of mozzarella adds a different creamy texture. A slice of prosciutto, cucumber, onion,or avocado can add a new layer of flavor as well. Just like in tattooing, it’s fun to get creative!

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