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.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Asparagus, Garlic and Scapes — Oh, My! 'Tis The Season Of Fresh Produce

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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cast Iron Vs. Non-Stick — And The Winnah Is...

A nice selection from the International Dutch Oven Society exhibition in Salt Lake City
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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Making Homemade Crackers The 'Easiest Thing In The World'

After: Pretty slick, huh? Hope that Brie is good n' gooey.
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.  

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Food For Thought
5:01 am
Wed March 5, 2014

How To Make Your Own Crème Fraîche — And Why You Should

A jar of homemade créme fraîche.
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.”

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 26, 2014

No Need To Presoak Beans For This Cheese Rind-Flavored Minestrone Recipe

Mmm...that blob at noon to 2 is a good n' chewy chunk of Parmesan rind.
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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Nancy Leson Couldn't Stand Meatloaf Until She Tried This Unusual Recipe

Warning: This meatloaf contains raisins and apples.
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.”

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 12, 2014

An Annoying Question From The Waiter

"Has monsieur dined with us before?"
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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Bread of the Ana-Damned?

Anadama in the pan
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.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 29, 2014

The Tossed-Off Magic Of Chinese Hand-Pulled Noodles

Those noodles were putty in Nancy Leson's hands. Unfortunately, they stayed that way.

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.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Where Nancy Went Wrong With Her Spanish Shrimp Recipe

Looks great. If only...
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.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Closure In The Form Of A Fish-Shaped Cod Cake With An Olive For An Eye

The impossible dream realized – a fish-shaped codfish cake.
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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Two Too-Easy Chicken Stock Recipes

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. 

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Nancy & Dick's Swell Christmas Cooking Scores

Shoyusashi (soy sauce dispenser) by Reid Ozaki
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.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed December 25, 2013

Gumbo Fight At The Okra Corral

Mac's (okra deficient but otherwise great) gumbo
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.

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Food for Thought
5:00 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Cookies, Including What Nancy Leson Calls The 'Best Shortbread Evah!'

Some of the cookies brought to the cookie/wedding party Nancy tells about.
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!" 

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