The Hungry Cyclist; Astronaut Food; Veggie Indian; Boiled Peanuts; Crushpad Wines; Time Machines

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Laura Avery finds Amelia Saltsman poking through produce at the farmers market and she tells us what to do with fennel.

Grapefruit, Fennel and Radish Salad with Black Olives
Makes 6 servings

  • 2 fennel bulbs, about 1 lb total
  • 1-2 Tablespoons snipped fennel greens, optional
  • 1/2 bunch radishes, about 1/4 lb total
  • 1 pomelo or grapefruit such as oro blanco or cocktail
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives
  • 2 Tablespoons snipped chives
  • 2 handfuls (about 2 ozs) mache, mizuna, or tat soi
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
Thinly slice fennel and radishes using a sharp knife or a mandolin (see cook's tip below) and place in ice water while preparing remaining ingredients. If desired, snip some of the more delicate fennel fronds to use in the salad. Peel and segment the pomelo or grapefruit and cut the segments crosswise into small bite-size pieces. Drain fennel and radishes and place in a large bowl along with the fennel fronds, pomelo, olives, and chives. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and a light squeeze of lemon. Salad may be made to this point up to two hours ahead. Add mache or mizuna and toss again to serve.

COOK'S TIP: Invest in an inexpensive Benriner, the Japanese equivalent of a mandolin, available at many houseware and cookstores. Leave an inch or so of stem attached to the fennel bulbs and radishes to hold when slicing the vegetables to protect your hand from the sharp blade.
-- 2006, Amelia Saltsman.

Laura also finds out what Louis Mello from San Luis Obispo has found growing under his old oak trees: a huge patch of wild chanterelle mushrooms.

Tom Kevill Davies, the hungry cyclist, recounts his flight to New York from England with only his bike and a tent. His mission has been to eat his way across the US guided by locals' suggestions of where to go. He stops by to give us an LA update.

Michele Perchonok reports on NASA meal planning for the 26-month round-trip journey to Mars and the extended visit to the red planet. She also explains how you can see the International Space Station from your own backyard --even without a telescope!

Jonathan Gold introduces us to an Indian restaurant in San Fernando Valley with "pooris as big as your head.--- It's Woodlands at 9840 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Chatsworth; (818) 998-3031. Recommended dishes include paneer dosa, gobi Manchurian and moore kulzmbzu. Woodlands also has a second location in Artesia at 11833 Artesia Blvd., Artesia; (562) 860-6500.

Matt Lee wants you to give up the roasted peanuts and eat them boiled. Lee Bros. started when Matt and his brother lived together in New York City. Ted was working in publishing and Matt had tried both the restaurant business and being a political press aide (for Clinton). Homesick for their native Charleston, South Carolina, they boiled some peanuts in their kitchen and took them around to Southern-style restaurants.

Ted says their mistake "was thinking that Southern restaurants knew what Southern food was." Moving back to Charleston, they started a mail-order boiled-peanuts business, using a printer and sewing machine to stitch up their catalogues. Now their business grown into what's been called the "William-Sonoma" of Southern goodies".

Michael Brill confesses he wanted "to liberate winemaking from the stereotype of the 5th generation wine family living on the chateau with the Golden Retriever." His Crushpad focuses on working professionals, "enabling people with day jobs to make wine for both personal and economic reasons." He's created a centrally located facility that enabled people to make wine, spending as much or as little time as they want without fear that the fermentation is going to get out of control. Here is the process in a nutshell:

  1. Choose a style of wine you want to create.
  2. Select from a number of vineyards and create a winemaking plan with 30 different specifications.
  3. Crushpad will monitor what is happening at the vineyard and report back to you.
  4. Once the fruit is picked and delivered to the winery. You can participate in the crushing, the fermenting et al. If you can't come, they have web cams and "MyCrushpad" to help you monitor what's happening.
  5. It ages in barrels for 8-24 months. From time to time you can taste the wine.
  6. You work with their staff to design a label and you are sent 25 cases of your own wine.

Jonathon Foerstel believes the classic old restaurant is the best way to boomerang backwards in time. For him, "the real time machine is a restaurant, hotel, bar or other building interior where you can sit and feel like you've returned to the past. It's sort of like when you hear an old tune that brings you back to an earlier time in your life (although the best time machines for me bring me to a time before I was born). Sitting in these places, one has the illusion of a time gone by when life had a slower pace, people cared about quality and integrity, and life's pleasures were more simple and innocent.--- For a list of Jonathon's time machines go to