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


For years I assumed that the word caramel came from the name of the first celebrity chef, Marie-Antoine Careme, A.K.A the King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings. 

But no, it's just a corruption of the medieval Latin for sugar cane, cannamellis. Though I love them dearly I've never attempted to make my own caramels. But I know someone who has ...

Stein / The Corporation for Refrigerated Saxophones

In this week's culinary adventure Nancy Leson and I chat about our canning projects.  Balsamic jams for her and preserved lemons for me.   Preserved lemons give a powerful jolt of flavor. 

Mile high birthday bash

Oct 17, 2012
Kurt Oakley / Morning Glory Balloon Tours

In this week's Food for Thought Nancy Leson and I talk about favorite venues for birthday bashes.  My birthday was double-10 day, October 10th -- a birthday I share with both Thelonious Monk and Dorothy Lamour, who once told me "There ain't room enough in this sarong for the two of us."


Yes, there actually was a Granny Smith.  That's her right above.  But she was not (gasp) an American.

Stein / Set design by C. Degroot

Nancy Leson is back in the saddle again. After months spent in lady-of-leisure mode (I can just hear her outraged snort) Nance is back  doing a weekly column for The Times. In this week's FfT she talks about her new job and about a Pink Door recipe for squid she gave her own twist to.


This week's Food for Thought is part two of our chat with Andrea Nguyen, author of the terrific new cookbook Asian Tofu, hence the dreadful pun above. Nancy and I usually get a fair number of comments to our Food for Thoughts post. But last week's Part One brought this response.  So it's time to walk on the wild side.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

I blame the hippies. If it weren't for concoctions like Tofu Chili Surprise and other abominations maybe so many Americans wouldn't turn up their noses at tofu. I've always believed that the only legitimate context for the stuff is in Asian cooking.  

In Andrea Nguyen's terrific new cookbook, Asian Tofu, that's right where she puts it. Full disclosure:


Now that the weather is finally cooling off it's time to crank up the oven.  In this week's Food for Thought,  Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson and I share a few favorite baking maneuvers.


Definitely the BP in my case but I'm a confirmed Luddite, anyway.   I can be accused of malfeasance right at home by my wife.  I don't need to go to the supermarket to hear it from a snooty machine.

Nancy Leson

Of course there will be no feast to find unless you put one in.  The feast my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson likes to store is her Sri Lankan Beef Curry.  The picture above shows the results, and it looks pretty good to me.  Why don't we all give it a try?  Here's  the recipe.


Even for some of our favorite activities the first time is not necessarily the best time.  Restaurants are no exception.  Especially when you stop to think about how much there is to go wrong.


Seattle Times food writer and my Food for Thought co-conspirator  Nancy Leson is just back from the windy city where she attended a big fat wedding.   She points out that these days there's a bit of a problem in giving cooking-related wedding gifts.  Here's why.

It's a bacon renaissance. The stuff's in everything from milkshakes to chocolate to bourbon whiskey. Just Google "new uses for bacon" and you'll see. There are innumerable sites devoted to all things bacon. Including one called Mr. Bacon Pants, a concept with some intriguing possibilities. 

And now in the interest of full disclosure, I confess:

Nate McCarthy / Wereteens of Edmonds

Nancy's pretty let down about this. Not so much that she can't bring her own but that she won't get to watch the dogs others bring.  In Seattle dogs are allowed at some farmers markets and banned at others.  

Here's a list: Farmers markets in Washington make their own rules.

Nancy Leson

Well, Nancy has fun. Sometimes I get a little freaked when hemmed in by a farmers' market crowd. You know –  potato panic. Arugula anxiety. 

But my Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson loves s nothing better than immersing herself in the mob of happy food grazers at farmer's markets in the Seattle area.

Stein / Stein Software and Garlic Management Associates

I read my first Yelp restaurant review this past weekend and I'm pretty sure it'll be my last. So many of the posts were so whiny that they weren't even as amusing as those really dumb Netflix Member Reviews.

You know the ones ...

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought Co-conspirator Nancy Leson, previously a happy land lubber, was recently cajoled into a trip to Mexico on one of those giant cruise ships.  The good news?  The tales of heroic eating you've heard are true.  The not so good news?  

Huffington Post

"How could I  not have known about this?"  My Food for Thought pard Nancy Leson echoed the very words I had thought when I discovered the Spiral Cut hot-dog.   It's not only cool,  it's so easy to do. 


Seattle's ban on (some) plastic bags starts July 1st. Seattleites will still be able to get paper bags at the checkout at a nickel a shot for the big ones.  Or do what any smart KPLU'er would –


If you've never had them the idea of cold noodles might not sound too appetizing.  But just take a look at that recipe up there. Why do you think it's so ragged and stained? From multiple uses, that's how. 

I've had it memorized for years but I thought it would be fun to break it out once more so you could see. Click through all the photos and then keep reading – because I've got some good tips for you on how to make it.

J. Henslee / KPLU

Everybody doesn't like some kind of chow that almost everybody else loves. Me, I'm horrified by fruit. That's baffled and bemused everyone around me lo these years. But even I was surprised when some KPLU staffers revealed their food terrors to me.


Over the years I've received numerous emails from listeners who rhapsodize over the Beef on Weck sandwich of upstate New York . Last week's "favorite foods of memory"  installment brought yet another mention so I decided I'd make my own. Step one was finding out exactly what a Beef on Weck is.

When recipes go wrong

May 23, 2012
The health care blog

Don't blame yourself. It is absolutely not your  fault. After all, you could never make a mistake. Could you?

Nancy Leson

My Food for Thought co-conspirator Nancy Leson has been tormenting me with pics of all the great food she's been scarfing on the east coast.   What lovely schadenfreude I enjoyed upon  learning that the sandwich pictured above was awful.  The bummer was the bread.

Give peas a chance!

May 9, 2012

I'm planting mine – the ones  pictured above – this very weekend. Actually they're Chinese-style Snow Peas.  My wife, the L&T Cheryl DeGroot refuses to eat the little round ones. 

Which is too bad because besides being delicious and versatile peas are really good for you.


Full disclosure: I don't know whether or not they fry their pizzas in Micronesia. I just wanted a rhyming headline and I liked "Micronesia" better than "Spinal Anesthesia."* Who wouldn't? 

Anyway, they have  been deep-frying pizzas in Europe.  Now the fad has moved stateside.

Nancy Leson

One of the most common flash points of domestic bickering is the optimum method for loading a dishwasher.

And now I'm admitting to my wife, the  Lovely & Talented Cheryl DeGroot, right here on the World Wide Web that I was  – arghhh!  wrong and she was  – gackkk!!... right.  But only about the dishwasher.  I think I've been right about everything else.  For years.  Anyway...

Dine alone and love it

Apr 18, 2012
Cheryl DeGroot

I do. In fact I was pretty surprised to learn that many people are uncomfortable when dining alone in public. I can't imagine why. I enjoy unaccompanied ingestion for lots of reasons.

Nancy Leson

When you ask your dinner host "What should I bring?" and the answer is " dessert" what do you make?

Justin Steyer

KPLU jazz host Paige Hansen did.   Here's how it went down.

Paige told me she was filling up when the guy at the next pump over asked her if she'd like to buy some meat.  And she did.  A lot.  Since she survived to tell the tale I guess she got away with it okay.  In fact she said she and her husband had just eaten one of the steaks the night before "... and it was great."