Food for Thought | KNKX

Food for Thought

"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."

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.

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.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

Nancy Leson's wild romance with the Instant Pot grew too steamy for husband Mac to tolerate.  "Every time you vent that thing it's taking the paint off the ceiling. "  Solution:  Put the pot on the gas stove where the big overhead hood can catch the steam.

What could go wrong?

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. 

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

I blame Stein.

For months he’s been insisting we do a show on the Instant Pot. This, from the guy who didn’t even own a rice cooker until I gave him one for a recent birthday. 

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.

Happy Year of the Dog!

Feb 14, 2018
Nancy Leson / KNKX

It's Lunar New Year. The celebration of  Year of the Dog is now through March 2.

Food is a big part of Lunar NY celebrations, and today there are more resources than ever to teach you how to prepare it.  Naturally, Nancy the Mom couldn't help but talk up her son's Asian cooking abilities.

Nancy Leson / KNKX

She’s at it again.  Nancy Leson swears you can have good-to-go pizza crust in just one hour.  Of course I think she’s delusional but I’m too diplomatic to say it.

Oh, wait – no I’m not.

Stein / KNKX

I took a few days off from the station and ran wild in the kitchen last week.   I made pizza, steamed ribs, roast duck, duck soup, bagels, rye bread, an ill-fated lambstrami, and a glorious batch of supercrisp oven baked wings. Recipes and a notes below.

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