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

Nancy leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson has resolved to do things differently in 2019. "I'm gonna try really hard this year to cook ahead. I'm one of those people who loves to to shop every single day and decide what I want on any given day." But recent happy discoveries in her freezer made her realize that sometimes it's fine to just defrost some leftovers. 

Especially if they're leftovers she and husband Mac love.

Cheryl DeGroot

This encore Food for Thought originally broadcast May 3, 2017

Nancy Leson and I love to share cooking and eating tips and tricks, but we don't always see things the same way. Nance says we agree to disagree. I say we each agree to think the other wrong and say so. 

La Cornue

With the gift-giving  deadline closing in, Nancy Leson and I offer our suggestions for the cooks on your list.  I thought it would be a goof to start with some of the most exorbitantly priced items around. But don't worry, we've got lots of ideas for normal budgets, too.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

I have shed blood in the performance of my Food for Thought duties.  After foolishly attempting to use a mandoline cutter without its safety pusher, I whacked a quarter-inch divot from my finger. And this right after I'd mopped the Food for Thought test kitchen floor. As I told food commentator Nancy Leson, "It looked like there'd been a sword fight in there."

Ironically, this carnage happened  in  pursuit of vegetarian lasagna.

Nancy Leson

In this episode, Nancy Leson explains the difference between broth and stock. I share some of my stock (or is it broth?) tips, and brag to her that — two weeks after the event — DeGroot and I finally managed to use up all the Thanksgiving leftovers.

Thrillist

Kevin Alexander's Thrillist article naming Portland's Stanich's the best burger in America seemed a blessing.   Then the food tourist mob decended.  Long lines.  Five hour waits. Until Steve Stanich, the second generation owner, shut the place down.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

If "strategies" means running out and buying mass quantities of every kitchen staple in sight at this time of year, that's Nancy Leson's strategy. Nance claims all that stuff pictured above is cheaper this time of year.

In this Thanksgiving week FfT we discuss that, as well as my final decision on vegetable peelers, our hoped-for demise of pumpkin spice everything, the relative virtues of rolled versus flat parchment paper, Wondra versus roux, and how to avoid political topics at holiday dinners. (Hint: It's Seahawks-centric).

Singer Karrin Allyson in the KNKX Seattle Studios.
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Singer Karrin Allyson brought sunshine to Seattle last Wednesday afternoon with a live performance in our studios.  

Allyson and her band were at Jazz Alley last week for the CD release celebration of her latest, Some of That Sunshine.  All songs on the album are originals by her or with collaborator Chris Caswell.   

Karrin, backed by pianist Miro Sprague and bassist Jeff Johnson, sang three tunes from Some of That Sunshine.

Stein's Homemade Paprika

Oct 31, 2018
Stein / KNKX

I've always thought it would be fun, not to mention cool, to make my own paprika from peppers I grew myself.  Call me a kid with a crazy dream, but last weekend that dream came true.

Last spring while leafing through the Territorial Seed Catalogue, I came across their blurb for Alma Peppers.  "Grow your own paprika seasoning!" it gushed. "Alma is one of the best paprika-type peppers for drying and grinding."  I had to try it.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Even if I'm going to cook boneless chicken thighs, I always buy the bone-ins and bone 'em out myself.  They're less expensive that way, and I get to save the bones in the freezer until I have enough to cook up some chicken stock. But up until, now I've never attempted to debone an entire bird.

Surprise: It was way easier to do than I expected and a lot of fun, too. 

I thought I was getting fancy when I replaced my all-metal 20-year old  Ecko straight-bladed veg peeler with the cushy-handled Oxo.  Then I started hearing about "Y" shaped peelers.  Food writer Daniel Gritzer, among others thinks it's the only way to go.

I decided to get a "Y" job and see how it stacks up against my old reliable.  Sure, I was putting $1.97 on the line for this experiment but felt I owed to Food for Thought listeners to take the risk.

My conclusions?

"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. 

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