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

Say goodbye to broken nails. Bid adieu to those earsplitting pneumatic cherry stone extractors. Give the old heave-ho to the danger and expense of specially trained cherry-pitting Komodo Dragons. 

Now there's a safe, easy method for removing cherry pits, says Nancy Leson. And it's probably not what you think. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

According to my Food for Thought pard  Nancy Leson, the #1 reason to go to all the trouble of home-grinding your own 'burger is because it will taste way better.  

Reason #2? It's really not all that much trouble. Plus you'll know exactly what's in it. Which, she suggests, might include bacon or chorizo. Which can never be bad.

Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum

I've received many invitations to judge cooking contests which I always decline with thanks. I've just never felt comfortable doing that. 

But when Chris Erlich, the Event Coordinator for the Ft. Nisqually Living History Museum invited me to a sampling of authentically-prepared 1855 Washington chow, I couldn't resist, especially since I got to wear a real-deal 1855 outfit.

That's right. The only difference between me and a real ham is that a real ham can be cured.

K. Kneistedt / Hair on Fire Productions

I knew that  recipe was dangerous the moment I saw it. Six Thai peppers? A half cup of chile oil? And that was just the start of the hot stuff. Naturally, I couldn't wait to make it. 

Because he'll eat anything (except tofu), I invited Weekend Edition host Kevin Kniestedt over to have some. We were in agony. And we couldn't stop. Maybe you'd like to try it.

"Open #&%" sez me!

Jun 12, 2013
Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

The fold out spout that doesn't.  The pull-ring that pops off so violently it spews the carton's contents all over your hands, the counter and your new pants.  Little foil closure tabs  so absurdly tiny they'd make Tinkerbell look ham-handed. 

We cover them all and more in this week's Food for Thought.

Let's do lunch!

May 29, 2013
swamibu / flickr

In my whole life I've never even had a one-martini lunch. I stay right here in the KPLU Jazz Bunker, wolfing down last night's leftovers.  If you think  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson  is lunching more luxuriously, think again.

This is an encore episode of Food for Thought.

I blame my mother. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

I don't expect you to forgive me for that headline. To paraphrase Tammany Hall "Honest Grafter" George Washington Plunkitt, I saw my opportunity and I took it. But I digress. In this week's Food for Thought we come to praise Caesar salad.

Sniff, memory!

May 8, 2013

Some smells always bring back fond memories. Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson says one whiff of mint, and she's suddenly 6 again. 

Two of my favorites are  flame-broiling meat in a highly air-conditioned room, and the aroma of onion soup on a freezing Quebec day. I guess I just like the memory of warm food smells in a cold environment. Not always, though.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

These look like some nice beans. And there's a story behind them, too. In this week's Food for Thought, Nancy and I chatted about what we're putting into the ground this spring, and what we hope to get out of it—including something I never knew could be grown around here.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

Need more Jimmy?

You can listen to the wildly popular, live radio performance of Jimmy Jazzoid Rides Again below! Want to take Jimmy Jazzoid with you, wherever you go?  You can download the podcast here

Jaki Byard calls B.S.

Apr 26, 2013

One night in New York City a long time ago I was in search of a last gasp of civilization before a taking up a year’s exile at an Air Force radar site in the Bering Sea. I found it – and more — at The Dom, an East Village Jazz joint where pianist Jaki Byard’s quartet was playing.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

So says the Hostess company of its frozen food saw. I hadn't known there even was a tradition for frozen food saws. I do know that the Hostess company would never exaggerate, so probably the tradition they mean is that of medieval surgical tools. 

Kevin Kniestedt / Unrepresented

Nancy Leson surprised me when she said she was using cake flour and plain cold water for her dumpling wrapper dough.  I've been using all purpose and just-boiled very hot water. 

Nancy got the recipe from Judy Fu of Seattle's Snappy Dragon restaurant fame and wrote about it recently.  There's something I like about her method. And something I don't.

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

My friend and fellow–though fancier– eater,  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson is just back from the Windy City, and telling wide-eyed tales of exotic dinners.  Nance and her fellow Times gastro-journalist Providence Cicero lucked into reservations at two of the top restaurants in the country, if not the world.

John Lok / Seattle Times

I would. And so would Nancy. She calls Michael Sanders' loaves "perhaps the best bread in town" and says she'd happily pay twice that.  

Only about 50 of these beauties come out of Sanders' oven each day and most of those are going to a Matt Dillon restaurant. But if you get to Sitka and Spruce in Melrose Market early enough, you just might be able to score one.

5.  Celebrating a super Seattle sushi chef

Seattle's own Daisuke Nakazawa was featured in the sushi documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  

Speaking of sushi, Nancy expressed surprise that I'd never eaten sushi before she offered me some. It wasn't really any big deal. We were leaving the Tacoma Pal Do World supermarket with a car full of Asian cooking supplies, and she'd picked up a container of the little rice rolls to eat on the way home.  

Stein / Marshmallow Mavens, Inc

There are Peeps diorama contests held all across the nation, not least of which is that sponsored by the Seattle Times. Here, take a look.  This year's contest attracted hundreds of entries. As Nancy pointed out, it's perfectly possible that these Peepsle have too much time on their hands. Some fun, huh?

Be a recipe renegade!

Mar 20, 2013

Run wild!  Sure, if you've never made something before, it's a good idea to follow the instructions. But if the instructions look weird or include ingredients you really don't like, that's another story.

Recipes come from all-too-fallible humans. Take it from me that some of them can haul you right over the Foodscal Cliff. I speak from bitter experience.


This week's discussion was inspired by the TV comedy Portlandia  and its Brunch Village episode about an endless line of would-be brunchers. 

I have lurked in the lobbies of dim sum joints waiting for tables.  And once in a while I've been been willing to wait in the bar.  But queue up out on the sidewalk?  Uh-uh.  I've stood on all the chow lines I care to, thank you. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

You don't need an oven to make great flatbread.  You can do it all in a skillet right on top of your stove.  Here's how:

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

I can't believe that Leson got that "natural" style starter to work.  I've tried over and over again with no success.  Her success encourages me.  Maybe I'll try again. 

Nancy Leson / Seattle Times

Okay, this one isn't about food -- other than the food scraps that were embedded and festering in both my kitchen floor and Nancy's.  It's about floors -- and the amazing Air Sled appliance mover.  One of the coolest gizmos I've seen in many a year.

Hot legs!

Feb 6, 2013
Nancy Leson

I confess that though I've chewed my way through enough chicken wings to levitate a dumpster I've never had the official Buffalo Wing.   And now I may never bother.  Here's why:


Let's post lunch.   Take your best shot.  After all, who wouldn't want to see a picture of what you're eating?  Not surprisingly, some restaurateurs -- and some restaurant customers -- are not amused. 


Daisuke Nakazawa was featured in the sushi documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  

Nate McCarthy

Except we didn't explode.  We should have, though.  Included in the dinners we discuss is the Caraway-crusted roast pork I made from from the "Remembering Labuznik" chapter in  Tom Douglas' Tom's Big DinnersHere's how to make it.

Get hot for the holidays

Dec 26, 2012

"Every hair on Dave Matschina's head was drenched in sweat.  It crept into his eyes and dripped off his nose."   So begins Twincities.com  tale of a feast of hot wings made made with the fearsome Naga Bhut Jolokia or Indian Ghost Pepper -- a chili that makes the formerly top dog habenero taste like a slug of Milk of Magnesia. 

Sake nomi, Seattle

I knew going in that I knew next to nothing about sake. As it turned out I didn't even know that much.

Nancy Leson

It's not the three cookbooks pictured above, though Nancy really loves them and recommends them swooningly and from a great height.  Nope, this is an enjoyable DIY project.  Click "Listen" and all will be revealed.  Now let's talk about saffron,