Dick Stein | KNKX

Dick Stein

Midday Jazz Host

Dick Stein has been with KNKX 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 KNKX 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

"Stein, tell me true," Nancy Leson asked.  "Do you think you waste a lot of food?" I'd say I waste less food than the average American.  And 73 percent of us say the same.  You do the math.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

When Nancy Leson's husband, Mac, didn't get her a new toaster for their 21st anniversary, she bravely hid her disappointment.  But it all worked out better than okay when he took her to dinner at  their new favorite restaurant. 

I suppose knowing they're the life form most likely to survive a nuclear war is what makes them so bold.

But unlike Don Marquis' correspondent Archy, the cockroach with the soul of a vers libre poet, the bug scuttling across our restaurant table had no literary pretentions. As far as I know, the only thing he ever got down on paper was himself when I squashed him into a paper napkin.

As Archy wold have observed, "Transmigration of souls is a great game if you don't weaken."

Julie Notarianni

The phrase "Back to school" always puts me into a warm and happy frame of mind.  Mainly because I know it won't be me who has to go back to school.  Ever again.  Nancy Leson says "See?  I feel the complete opposite of you."

"So what else is new?" I asked her.  

On Aug. 29, The Lovely and Talented Cheryl DeGroot and I celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary.  In the U.S. there's no traditional gift for that anniversary.  So I declared the 26th to be the Upgraded Home Appliance Anniversary. 

I got her a toaster.

Why Bother To Cook?

Aug 29, 2018
Stein / KNKX

 Nancy Leson sent me a link to an Op-Ed published in the New York Times recently by Smitten Kitchen food blogger and cookbook author Deb Perelman.  The title: Never Cook at Home: Trust me, I know it's a drag.

Stein / KNKX

Must be all the over-the-top heat we've endured that contributed to my great luck this summer growing Shishito and their cousins, Padron peppers.  Now if I can just find a way to use them all up.  Here are two of my favorites.

True, I'm no longer young but I am in love (with the Lovely & Talented  Cheryl DeGroot) and I've been meaning to render and eat my own lard for a long time, now. 

I'd been hearing for years about its magical properties for biscuits and pie crusts.  And I've recently been learning of its health benefits.  The stuff's been getting a bad rap for years. But I'd also been warned off the hydrogenated kind in those shelf-stable boxes at the supermarket.

Nope, the only kind to use was from the leaf fat around the hog's kidneys, and an organically raised porker at that.  That stuff's been hard to come by at my local supermarket.  But at last the lard gods have smiled upon me.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson has been making various flatbreads for years, first in her oven and then in a dry cast iron skillet. But from now in she'll do it on – not in – a wok.  

Nancy Leson

Sometimes my mind has a mind of its own.  "I know," it thought.  "Let's order pricy, self-indulgent food stuff online."  And so I did.

"Alright, mister," Nancy Leson demanded.  "Who are you and what have you done with Stein?"

I'd succumbed to the dangerous combination of being online and bored, with a few extra end-of-month  bucks.  But now I'm glad I got the stuff.  Well, two thirds glad anyway.

This Is The Way To Satay

Jul 25, 2018
Stein / KNKX

This is not a weeknight recipe.  

Both Nancy Leson's and my emails crossed in the cybersphere.  "Let's make this!"  It was J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe for Balinese Pork Saté and it was pretty complicated.  In fact, three recipes in one: the spice blend for the pork marinade, the sweet soy glaze for grilling, and the hand-pounded (more on that down-blog) peanuts for the sauce.

Stoveless In Tacoma

Jul 18, 2018
Stein / KNKX

It was like when you've left the caps lock on in Word, only it was streaming across the touchscreen on my kitchen range.  Err  loctUrnoff sUrfacebUrneRs  accompanied by frantic beeping.  I expected a dAanger wIll rObinson any moment.

The L&T Cheryl DeGroot

Nancy was on jury duty this week and couldn't record.  Here's one of our favorites from yesteryear.

At the conclusion of last week's Food for Thought, I bragged to Nancy Leson that I would create a cheese cracker the size of a Long Playing Record sleeve in my home oven. 

"I'm talkin' about the big Corellian Cheez-Its now" I told her.   Thanks to pastry chef Stella Parks' BraveTart blog I can declare "mission accomplished!"

Before Nancy and I teamed up 12 years ago (!) I did a tw- year series of food features called Jazz Kitchen.  A lot of it was actually useful information, interviews, etc.  Other times I indulged my sillier side with shows about Nuclear Fuel Rod Chicken, The Trouble with Toasters, Aliens in the Fridge, my days delivering liquor to a house of ill fame, and lots more.

For this Independence Day week, I wanted to share a Jazz Kitchen about a July Fourth sing-along with some recent arrivals from Italy during my time as a dishwasher in a Boston restaurant.  

Food memories are no more reliable than any others.  I learned that this week after an email exchange with my sister, Debbie.  Deb's been binge listening to Food for Thought and wrote to chat about a recent one in which I mentioned my childhood experience shopping for live chickens with my mother. 

She thinks I'm imagining it.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

In this week's FfT, Nancy Leson and I talk about stuff we like in jars and bottles. Nancy hails the abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables at farmers markets.  But when it comes to preserves and condiments her favorites are on supermarket shelves.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson's back from  babysitting her eight-week old grand nephew in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But it wasn't all power tools and free weights for Nancy and neph.  She also found time to food shop and pack down some Carolina BBQ.  First, the shopping.

The L&T Cheryl DeGroot / For KNKX

I try to get any piece of aluminum foil,  paper towel or  parchment paper to give its all.  In this Food for Thought, I tell Nancy Leson how many uses I got from one piece of plastic wrap.  I was proud. 

She was disgusted.

Stein / KNKX

We'd been thinking about replacing our wobbly, tippy old dining table for years but never cared enough to really go looking.  And then:  "I found it!" the Lovely and Talented Cheryl Degroot announced.  

A nice old solid oak dining table in perfect condition with two extra leaves at Goodwill.  DG rightly prides herself as the queen of thrift store bargain hunters, but this one surpassed even her high standards for low prices. 

Best Chili Oil Ever

May 9, 2018
Stein / KNKX

I'd never heard of Chili Crisp until recently, but Laoganma (Old Godmother) brand Chili Crisp is a Big Thing.  In fact the Laoganma  brand is the top-selling line of chili oils and sauces in China and is rapidly gaining a large following as the cult condiment de jour here in the states.

Stein / KNKX

On our way to the ferry in Anacortes,  DeGroot and I stopped for breakfast at a place recommended to us the night before – Dad's Diner A-Go-Go.  Co-owner Fletcher McLean greeted us warmly and pointed to the chalkboard menu, saying "Or just tell me what you want and we'll make it happen."

I'm easy, so I ordered eggs over, bacon and biscuits. When I complimented Fletcher on the bacon, I learned that they fennel-rub it before smoking over applewood.  Dad's makes all its own charcuterie including sausages, briskest, smoked hams and pastrami.  They even mix up several varieties of their house-brand "Badassco" hot sauce. 

Then he offered me some country gravy for my biscuit.  How good was it?  

Dick Stein

This encore Food for Thought originally aired  August 31, 2016

Wrong-way handles and high-altitude deep fat drops are just a few of the kitchen safety topics Nancy "Band-aids are a girl's best friend" Leson and I took up on this week's Food for Thought.  All that and more -- plus a genius method for threading meat onto kebab skewers.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson and I love to bake our own breads and often enjoy weekend baking projects.  Recently we both picked up the America's Test Kitchen Bread Illustrated book and decided we'd each make a recipe or two from it and report back to you.  

Nancy Leson / KNKX

We got so much response to last week's Instant Pot show that this week we're talking about other electric gizmos we love in our kitchen.  Nancy Leson, who has never seen a thrift store KitchenAid Mixer she didn't want (especially if it's red) has at least four.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

During  our recent successfully concluded (thank you very much!) spring fund drive, Nancy Leson and I asked listeners for Food for Thought topics.  First one over the e-transom came from Tom who wanted to know if we preferred to roast our chickens whole or spatchcocked.

I said "spatchcocked!"  I love to say that word.  Give it a try and you will, too.  What does spatchcock mean?  Probably not what you think.

The Call Of Cauliflower

Mar 21, 2018
Nancy Leson / KNKX

Looks like cauliflower is the new kale.  For a guy who always loved both, it's annoying to be seen as subscribing to a food trend.  On the other hand, I'm not giving the stuff up just because it got fashionable.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson thought it was just about the coolest thing she ever saw – a knife stand made of closely packed wooden skewers at Ono Poke in Edmonds. A better use than watching them char and crumble over hot coals no matter how long you soak them.  I suggested a superior skewer.

Which sent us off on a few of our favorite kitchen hacks.  You'll find  some here and some in the audio  –including a trick for a crisper shrimp, using  the cardboard in a roll of paper towels to store Ziplocs, the best way to re-heat pizza, and an egg separation hack that has to be seen (in the video below) to be believed.

Kiddie Food Memories

Mar 7, 2018

In this week’s Food for Thought, Nancy Leson and I dredged up our earliest memories of food.  Nancy recalls wolfing an entire stick of butter.  I tell how years later I learned what my grandmother’s “special” soup was really made of.

All that plus shopping for live chickens, Nancy’s lima bean phobia, wax flakes in the milk and collapsing straws in this week’s Early Food Memories show. 

Stein / KNKX

A recent Annals of Gastronomy column by Sadie Stein (no relation) in the New Yorker made the case against today's fashionable open kitchens.  Both Nancy Leson and I were in complete agreement. When we're cooking we vant...to be...alone.

KNKX

"Stein, were you a hippie?" Nancy asked.  Well, I had the hair then (sigh) but no interest in the food.

Which led us straight into a discussion of '70s longhair cuisine.  Jonathan Kauffman's new book Hippie Food is a fascinating history of how the counterculture back then changed the way we eat today.

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