Knives and Needles

Where Chefs can talk tattoos and Tattooers can talk food

Archive for the tag “vegetables”

Mary of Nom Yourself


Its rare to find a vegan chef, let alone a really good one! This is Knives and Needles first vegan chef feature, Mary of Nom Yourself! Her food looks amazing and she loves tattoos; so please read, enjoy and be inspired to step out of your animal-product box!

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

Mary: I am a 27 year old vegan cook living in NYC. I am currently developing recipes for my second cookbook that is currently untitled, and promote my first cookbook Nom Yourself – The Cookbook. I run and advocate home cooking.

Molly: I always want to advocate to cook at home as well, especially these days. Have you always been vegan?

Mary: I haven’t. I actually became vegan 14 months ago while living in Baltimore, Maryland. I started teaching myself how to cook and found that adding meat and dairy to my dishes was actually taking away from the flavor of all these amazing fruits and vegetables I was buying from the farmers market. Most people find veganism through animal rights or health reasons. I found it through cooking.


Molly: Very cool! How did you get into developing Nom Yourself?

Mary: I started posting pictures of the food I was making on my personal Instagram account. Then a friend suggested I start a website. Within a week I had a thousand followers and a new love for the internet.


Molly: What a great idea! So on to tattoos. What was your first tattoo and what inspired you to get tattooed?

Mary: My first tattoo was a star I got when I was 16. Reading Andrew Parsons interview on Knives & Needles is making me think this is what a lot of people in our generation would answer. I wanted to get tattooed because my family did and still does mean the world to me. I wanted to make it permanent and have something that would remind me of that. So, I got the star to represent the 5 people in my family. I went to some seedy place in downtown NYC and probably used a fake ID. It was less about art and more about being a rebel child than the tattoos that came after.

Molly: Haha! Who would you want a tattoo from if you could get tattooed by anyone right now? And what would you get?

Mary: Dave Wah at Stay Humble Tattoo Company, from Baltimore. The work he does is just fascinating. I would have him do my whole fruits & vegetables sleeve. Bright, vibrant veggies. Arugala, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Avocados, Kale, Onions, all of it!


Molly: Food tattoos!! Do you ever go to any tattoo conventions? If so, which ones and did you have fun?

Mary: I went to the Baltimore Tattoo Convention last year. It was a blast, but short lived. I was only there for about an hour. I’m hoping to go to the NYC Tattoo Convention in March.

Molly: Who else do you admire in the tattoo industry?

Mary: Trevor Friedrich, who did my side. A truly multi-talented human being. Ashley Thomas, from Atomic Tattoo in Austin, TX. She’s vega and rad. I’d love to sit in her chair and just shoot the shit and talk life.


Molly: Do you own any tattoo magazines?

Mary: I don’t. Mainly because I have the worst Wanderlust. My address is ever changing. I’ll pick up Inked every once in a while.


Molly: A girl after my own heart!  What style of tattooing do you love the most?

Mary: I love black and grey portraits. With the exception of the vibrant vegetable sleeve, I would cover my whole body with black and grey tattoos.

Molly: Any vegan tips for beginners?

Mary: Teach yourself how to cook. A lot of vegans get frustrated because its inconvenient to eat out. Teaching yourself how to cook will not only make it easier for you to transition into a vegan lifestyle, but you’ll also find yourself getting creative and you feel a sense of pride with every meal. Your kitchen becomes your art studio.

Great advice, Mary, thank you!!

Mary wanted to share a recipe with all of us today, Salted Caramel Apple Pumpkin Pie! Here is the link to the recipe on her website as well:!salted-caramel-apple-pumpkin-pie-recipe/c1m7o

Enjoy and try it out, you just might be pleasantly surprised at how “unvegan” it tastes!

Salted Caramel Apple Pumpkin Pie

Salted Caramel Apple Pumpkin Pie


Pie Crust

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 Tbs. organic granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegan margarine

2 Tbs. vegetable shortening

3 Tbs. cold water


Pumpkin Pie Filling

1 cup organic pumpkin pie puree

3 Tbs. all purpose flour

2 Tbs. organic light brown sugar

1 Tbs. organic granulated sugar

1/4 cup canned coconut milk

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

Apple Pie Filling

2 medium granny smith apples

2 medium pink lady apples

1/2 Tbs. lemon juice

1/3 cup organic brown sugar

1 1/2 Tbs. all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

pinch of salt


Salted Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup canned coconut milk

3 Tbs. vegan margarine

1 tsp. sea salt, coarse

Pie Crust

1) Mix flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl until well combined.

2) Add in margarine and shortening while you mix it all together with your hands. Keep kneeding until all ingredients are crumbled.

3) Slowly add cold water 1 Tbs. at a time and mix with your hands until dough is a ball.

4) Wrap the ball in saran wrap and put it in the refridgerator while you work on the pie fillings.


Pumpkin Pie Filling

1) Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until combined.

2) Set bowl aside.

Apple Pie Filling

1) Peel, core and thinly slice apples. If you have a mandoline, use it! Thin apples make the perfect filling. Place the apples in a large bowl with the lemon juice.

2) Add brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt.

3) Gently toss until apples are coated.

4) Set bowl aside.

Bring it all together

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2) Take pie crust out of the refrigerator and roll out onto a floured countertop with a rolling pin.

3) Once the size of the outer rim of your pie dish, place the dough in the pan. When you get the edges, make sure there is no dough hanging over, or on the sides. Keeping your crust on the inside of the pan and off the rim, keeps the crust from burning.

4) Pour pumpkin pie filling into crust and smooth out until even.

5) Neatly place apples on top of pumpkin filling.

6) Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes. (Some of you may be confused here because on my instagram video, I poured the caramel sauce in right before this step. After making it a second time, I feel the best outcome is making the sauce right before serving.)

7) Let cool overnight, or at least 5 hours.

8) Once chilled, proceed to Salted Caramel sauce directions.

Salted Caramel Sauce

1) In a non-stick skillet, combine sugar and water over medium-low heat and mix until the sugar is dissolved.

2) Increse heat and bring to a boil, without stirring.

3) Boil until the liquid is a deep amber color, 5-7 minutes.

4) Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in coconut milk, vegan margaine and salt.

5) Pour in a heat safe dish and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

6) Once cooled, top pie with your favorite ice cream (mines Vanilla!) and pour caramel sauce over it, and ENJOY!


Thank you Mary, this looks amazing!

Don’t forget to post your finished product on instagram, facebook or twitter and tag me in it when you’re done! I’d love to see your creations and what you think. @nomyourself or @knivesandneedles !


Tattoo Tuesday

ImageTattoo Tuesday done by none other than Timothy Hoyer!! Thank you Timothy!

Send us your food tattoos or recipes, we would love to feature you!



Brussels Sprouts!!


Brussels sprouts may not be one of the most popular vegetables, but they are one of the oldest. The first recorded cultivation of the forefather to the modern Brussels sprouts was in ancient Rome! The strain of the modern Brussels sprout was developed in medieval Belgium where it spread over northern Europe and eventually the world.

Brussels sprouts are a relative to cabbage (actually the edible bud of a type of cabbage called Brassica oleracea), kale and broccoli. They are high in vitamins A and C and it is thought to have anticancer properties.

You can roast them in the oven, sauté them, steam them or boil them. You could even try grilling them and they do not lose as much vitamins when cooked as other vegetables. For a simple side dish just sauté them with a little butter and bacon or roast them in the oven with salt, pepper and a little olive oil (450 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes), super simple and delicious!

Choose sprouts that are green and fresh looking. The right ones to pick should have tightly compacted leaves with the whole bulb feeling dense and heavy.  Store them in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.

Cheers and enjoy!!

If you have any food tattoos or recipes you would lie to see up on knivesandneedlesblog, send them to us! We would love to feature you!

Photo courtesy of Michelle Roberts

Tattoo Tuesday!!


Tattoo by Matt Adams!!

If you have any recipes or food tattoos you would like to share, contact us at

Thank you and have a great day!!!!




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

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


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


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


Carrot/Ginger Dressing

 4-6 large carrots, grated

2-4 large pieces of ginger, grated

2 large yellow onions, grated

1c Ponzu

1c Light soy sauce

¼-½c Salad oil


For salad dressing

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



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

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

1c Light soy sauce

1c Tamari soy sauce

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


For ponzu

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


Thank you and enjoy!!

 Photo by Michelle Roberts


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


Quick Food For Thought: Asparagus


photo courtesy of Michelle Roberts!

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


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

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

White Asparagus, Green Asparagus and Purple Asparagus

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

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

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

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

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


Photo courtesy of Michelle Roberts

Tattoos and Thailand Part 1


99 Baht all you can eat shabu shabu!!

Tattoos and Thailand Part 1

A few winters ago I spent 31/2 weeks roaming the North of Thailand. It was too touristy to go down south to any of the islands, so my friends and I decided to explore the north to end up in Chiang Mai by New Year’s Eve. I was blogging for a now non-existent site back then and I had this idea to take as many photos of tattoos and food as I could during my trip and blog about them. And so the journey began.


Kawasan Road

We started out in Bangkok, staying a few nights there. We stayed in the touristy area near Kawasan Road. That road is jam-packed night and day with tourists. Tattoo shops litter the road with restaurants and souvenir shops selling everything from fake i.ds to dresses and shoes. It’s hectic and it feels good to get out of there.


Bangkok Chinatown

One night while in Bangkok we took a tuktuk (a 3 wheeled enclosed motorscooter/taxi vehicle, I don’t recommend them without a surgical mask as you inhale all the exhaust the traffic) to Chinatown to walk around and eat. A majority of the restaurant windows either had dried shark fins and edible bird’s nests displayed for eating. The bird’s nests are called swallow’s nests in Chinese and are a delicacy usually in the form of a soup.



It turns sweet and gelatinous in liquids and is traditionally believed to provide health benefits, such as aiding digestion, raising libido, improving the voice, alleviating asthma, improving focus, and an overall benefit to the immune system. The nests were originally harvested in caves in Borneo but now with growing demand are harvested in man-made nesting houses mainly in Indonesia. Most are white, but there are natural red nests. They are found in caves on one of Thailand’s islands. An interesting fact is there is a lot of counterfeit nests and is a huge industry with a large black market.


bird’s nests for sale

After walking around for a bit looking at all the herb shops and restaurants, we decided to leave Chinatown to eat at a 99Baht (about $3.50 usd) all you can eat Thai-style shabu shabu restaurant that is situated along the Chao Phraya River that runs through Bangkok. Shabu shabu is a Japanese dish that consists of thinly sliced meats or seafood and vegetables that you poach in boiling water or seaweed broth called dashi at the table.


food for the masses

A dipping sauce is served with the meat, usually a citrus soy sauce called ponzu or a sesame-based sauce of some kind. The resulting soup is usually eaten at the end. It was pretty insane! Probably the strangest place I’ve ever eaten but definitely one of the coolest. First off, it was huge and all outdoors. It was literally rows and rows of raw meat, seafood, vegetables, fishcakes, tofu, puddings, cakes, ice creams, and jellies all covered by little roofs and safely on ice. It was pretty clean considering the amount of food and people.


the stage

The business made food seems to turn over quite quickly as well. In the uncovered, open area right on the river, there were rows and rows and rows of tables of all sizes and shapes. It seemed like almost every chair was filled with someone casually stuffing their face in between loud chatter and louder laughs. Then there was the stage. Flashy live karaoke of Thai-pop songs seemed to fit this atmosphere perfectly, I was wondering how many beers it would take to convince one of our friends to get up there and belt one out. We all ate to our hearts content, packing in the food and drink. It was a great time, really the first of many on this trip.




more meat and sauces


me in the background with yumminess in front




tons of people, tons of food


more people


close up of meat




food area. open area




ahhhh empty dishes


drink the broth at the end!

Stay tuned for more on actual tattoos and more food in Tattoos in Thailand pat 2…!!

Photos by me

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