Dick Stein

Midday Jazz Host

Dick Stein has been with KPLU since January, 1992. His duties include hosting the morning jazz show and co-hosting and producing the Food for Thought feature with the Seattle Times’ Nancy Leson. He was writer and director of the three Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen. Previous occupations include the USAF, radio call-in show host, country, classical and top-40 DJ, chimney sweep, window washer and advertising copywriter.

His most memorable KPLU moment: Peeling Alien life form from Erin Hennessey’s face after it leapt at her from the biohazard refrigerator he picked up cheap for the station at an FDA garage sale. Dick is married to nationally noted metalsmith, jewelry designer and cowgirl “Calamity” Cheryl DeGroot.

Ways To Connect

Nancy leson

Hanging out at Capitol Hill's La Bete Bistro enabled Nancy Leson to learn the closely-guarded secret of slicing multiple olives in one fell swipe using just two yogurt lids and a sharp knife. Continue on, dear reader, if you would like to know...

We just can't figure out how those tulips got into our garlic bed, but there they are, poking their broader leaves up through the straw amongst the thinner but tastier garlic shoots.

Seeing them reminds me of the story in Charles MacKay's 19th century masterpiece, "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" about Holland's Tulipmania. It concerns a sailor who returns from years overseas, unaware of the astronomical prices tulips had reached during that insane bubble.  Mistaking a bulb worth thousands for an onion, he eats it.

In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy Leson and I heave big sighs of anticipation over the fresh produce to come — for me, my 45 garlic plants and their scapes, and for her, local fresh asparagus. 

Nancy Leson

I admit it. For a while I was seduced by the slippery attraction of non-stick cookware. But what I noticed was that supermarket-cheap or fancy cookware-expensive, they all betrayed me in the end. I also noticed that while cast iron just keeps getting better and better, my non-stick just got worse. 

Nancy Leson

I love homemade food stuffs — things I might otherwise have to buy at a restaurant or a grocery store. But it’s never occurred to me to make my own crackers. Until now. 

The way my co-conspirator Nancy Leson tells it, "it's the easiest thing in the world.”

“For people like us who like to make homemade bread, pie crust, crackers are really, really easy,” she says.

Nancy asked Seattle chef Bruce Naftaly of the late Le Gourmand to share his recipe for his famous handmade crackers, which he makes with homegrown poppy seeds.  

Marisa McClellan / Flickr

I freely admit that up to now, I hadn't really been sure what the stuff was or even how to say it. Let's get that out of the way right now: It's pronounced “kremm fresh.” So what is it? Think sour cream, only not so sour and, for my money, way better-tasting. 

“Crème fraîche is really a cultured cream, just like sour cream,” says Nancy Leson. “And you can put it on anything, from sweets to savories. You can put it on fruit, you can put it on dumplings.”

Nancy Leson

My whole life I've been soaking dried beans overnight for use in the next day's soup or stew. At this late date, I've learned I've been wasting my time. 

Nancy Leson

I'm an open-minded, non-judgmental kind of guy (disregard that snickering from my wife), but I draw the line at fruit in meatloaf. Nancy Leson doesn't, as she made brazenly clear in her Seattle Times story last weekend.

Amazingly, Nancy sees nothing shameful about including raisins, apples and curry powder in meatloaf mix, and then topping the whole mess with chutney. 

“Don’t knock if you haven't tried it, buddy,” she said. “The raisins and the apple are what make this meatloaf so delicious to me.”

uncleeddiestheorycorner.blogspot.com

I am made wary when servers ask, "Have you dined with us before?" Why do they want to know? 

My unindicted co-conspirator Nancy Leson says a lot of times, the question has to do with a cryptic menu the patron may not understand. 

Nancy Leson

Given the blustery weather we're enjoying this week, why not some molasses-laden Anadama bread to provide the interior insulation we need? What's more, it turns out that I've been wrong, wrong, wrong all these years about the stuff.

The first time I watched hand-pulled noodles being made, I could hardly believe what I was seeing.  

The chef took a lump of dough, stretched, twisted, tossed and swung and lo — there were noodles.

Here. See for yourself.

Seattle Times

My Food for Though pard Nancy Leson did a great little piece in last Sunday's Seattle Times about her take on Spanish shrimp with garlic. It was accompanied by a swell video of Nance cookin' it up in her own kitchen. I loved it. Of course, my way is better.

Dick Stein

Back when Caddys had tail fins, my favorite dish was equally piscine: Gorton's Codfish Cakes. Mom mixed this whitish paste with mashed potatoes, shaped it into patties and fried them like little fishburgers. 

But I didn't want my codfish cakes in patties. I wanted what the photo on the side of the Gorton's can described  as "serving suggestion," which was the patty shaped into the form of a stylized fish. It even had a slice of pimento-stuffed olive for a fish eye. 

elena's pantry / Flickr

As the new year approached, both Nancy and I resolved to cook more homemade stocks. Now we’re putting our chicken bones where our mouths are – in more ways than one. Here are our two preferred methods. 

Reid Ozaki

Every year my wife, the lovely and talented Cheryl DeGroot, and I vow to skip the presents. This year was no different. We both broke the pledge.

Genevieve Alvarez / Seattle Times

I was shocked — simply shocked! — to read the gumbo recipe Nancy Leson posted recently in the Seattle Times.  It's her husband Mac's traditional Christmas day gumbo. What alarmed me was not what Mac put in; it was what he left out.

Nancy Leson

I never liked Cookie Monster. As long as he was in the world that meant fewer cookies for me. So now here comes Nancy Leson telling wild tales of a BYOCookies party-turned wedding and raving over what she claims is the "Best shortbread evah!" 

Nancy Leson

If you're shopping for a cook, chances are he or she already has at least some of the items pictured above, but maybe not all. This Food for Thought is all about (somewhat) cheap stuff to give cooks.

Nancy Leson

Nancy and her colleagues at the Seattle Times must have had a ball testing the 14 holiday recipes they got from Seattle chefs. If Times photographer Ken Lambert's beautiful shots hadn't already made me psychotically hungr, the names of the dishes alone would have blasted my appetite into low earth orbit.

Happy Thanksgivikah!

Nov 27, 2013

It hasn't happened since 1888, and isn't scheduled to recur for about 70,000 years.  It's this year's Thanksgivikah—when Thanksgiving and Hanukah occur at the same time. This brings a certain creativity to this year's holiday menu, to which we all contributed.

Nancy Leson

The hoopla over the New Big Thing restaurant is replaced by the excitement over the Next Big Thing. And the next. But some restaurants exist outside the cycle of fashion and fad. They're the places that keep us coming back for more.  

Nancy Leson

For sheer utility, the Ziploc stands right up there with Velcro and duct tape. The web is full of sites like Weird Things to Do with Ziploc Bags. But I have a couple of uses for them that I haven't seen listed.

avlxyz / Flickr

Finally! It's nice and cloudy and cool and rainy. In this Food for Thought Nancy Leson and I talk about some of our favorite cold weather food.  Strangely, two of our favorites come from places where the weather is anything but cool.

Rachel McKee / Flickr

Nancy Leson isn't all that big on candy, but she is sweet on a new candy cookbook.

One recipe the Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook offers is for candy apples, and not those brownish toffee apples, either.  This recipe's for real-deal shiny red ones.

Nancy Leson

Betwen us, Nancy Leson and I probably have a greater number of rolling pins than we have pin numbers. I've got about seven of 'em rattling around in my rolling pin drawer. Leson stopped counting at well past that. But these days, pretty much the only one I use I cannibalized from a broom.

Nancy Leson

Near as I can figure out, the only difference is that fresh cider isn't filtered. It's brown and cloudy instead of brown and clear. Nancy just made some in the rig pictured above. 

In this week's episode, she lists just some of the many varieties of eating apples available around here right now.  But Americans didn't always grow apples to eat.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Every time her tour schedule brings her to Seattle's Jazz Alley, Grammy-nominated vocalist Karrin Allyson makes a stop in the KPLU performance studio to visit her friend, Dick Stein.

Dick Stein

OK, I admit it. I'm not big on throwing dinner parties. But Nancy Leson sure is, and in this week's Food for Thought adventure, she tells all about her last one. I must admit I'm envious. But at least I got those swell bandages.   

Here's a recipe for just one of the enticing dishes she served.

Heather W. / Yelp.com

So how long would you be willing to stand on line for a table at a popular restaurant? Ten minutes? A half hour? Longer? Not KPLU’s Dick Stein, as he tells Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson on today’s Food for Thought.

Nancy Leson

...Even though he should have. When I described her recipe on my old Jazz Kitchen feature, he swallowed hard and forced a  smile and an "...interesting." Then we both cracked up. 

And now, the authentic eat-it-if-you-dare recipe.

Nancy Leson

This week, Nancy Leson demonstrates Martha Stewart's clever method for peeling a whole head of garlic.  Nothing could be simpler. And not only is it easy and fun, it (wait for it...) really, really works!

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