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News

Police stress need for low speed in school zones

Police stress need for low speed in school zones


Town Crier File Photo
After two recent accidents involving cyclists and motorists, police urge caution – on both sides.

After two recent incidents of vehicles striking student bicyclists, Los Altos Police urge residents to exercise caution whe...

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Schools

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center

Gardner Bullis School debuts new Grizzly Student Center


Photo by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Students line up to check books out of the library in the new Grizzly Student Center at Gardner Bullis School.

Gardner Bullis School opened its new Grizzly Student Center earlier this month, introducing a lea...

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Community

Home improvement workshop scheduled Wednesday (Oct. 29)

The County of Santa Clara is hosting a free informational workshop on 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Los Altos Hills Town Hall, 26379 Fremont Road.

The workshop will offer ways single-family homeowners can increase their homes’ energy efficiency. Eligible i...

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Comment

Off the fence: TC recommends 'yes' on N

The Town Crier initially offered no position on the controversial $150 million Measure N bond on Tuesday’s ballot. But some of the reasons we gave in our Oct. 15 editorial were, on reflection, overly critical and based on inaccurate information.

We ...

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Special Sections

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream

Long-term solutions emerge as water conservation goes mainstream


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Forrest Linebarger, right, installed greywater and rainwater harvesting systems at his Los Altos Hills home.

With more brown than green visible in her Los Altos backyard, Kacey Fitzpatrick admits that she’s a little e...

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Business

Local realtors scare up money for charity

Local realtors scare up money for charity


Photo courtesy of SILVAR
Realtors Gary Campi and Jordan Legge, from left, joined Nancy Domich, SILVAR President Dave Tonna and Joe Brown to raise funds for the Silicon Valley Realtors Charitable Foundation.

Los Altos and Mountain View realtors raise...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

DAVID S. NIVISON

DAVID S. NIVISON

David S. Nivison, 91 years old, and a resident of Los Altos, California since 1952, died Oct. 16, 2014 at home.  His neighbors had recently honored him as the “Mayor of Russell Ave., in recognition of 62 years of distinguished living” on that ...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

ECYS opens season Sunday

ECYS opens season Sunday


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
The El Camino Youth Symphony rehearses for Sunday’s concert, above.

The El Camino Youth Symphony – under new conductor Jindong Cai – is scheduled to perform its season-opening concert 4 p.m....

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Spiritual Life

Christian Science Reading Room hosts webinar on prayer and healing

Christian Science practitioner and teacher Evan Mehlenbacher is scheduled to present a live Internet webinar lecture, “Prayer That Heals,” 7:30 p.m. Nov. 14 in the Christian Science Reading Room, 60 Main St., Los Altos.

Those interested ...

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Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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For summer dinners, transform your sandwich into a salad


Garrett Miller/Special to the Town Crier
Banh Mi Salad, a Vietnamese specialty, combines Asian flavors from cilantro, pickled vegetables and chiles with grilled or roasted meat.

For me, summertime means summer food. It means cooking and eating outside. Most of all, it means eating lighter, more healthful foods that won’t contribute to my heat-induced sluggishness.

To that end, I wanted to make a lighter version of the popular Vietnamese street food (and one of my all-time favorite sandwiches) known as “banh mi.” The culinary product of the French colonization of Vietnam, a traditional banh mi starts with a crusty baguette slathered with aioli and gets layers of Asian flavors from fresh cilantro, pickled vegetables and chiles. Proteins may include roasted or grilled meats, pork pâté or meatballs.

While the bread is typically what makes or breaks a banh mi, it doesn’t bring much to the flavor party, so why not skip it altogether and turn this tasty sandwich into a hearty dinner salad? A bed of crisp romaine and sliced fresh cucumbers were a good start, but I still needed a dressing that captured the creamy, tangy, spicy flavors of a banh mi, a tasty protein topping and my pickled vegetables.

I figured the pickles would translate well from sandwich to salad unaltered, so I made a brine in which to soak some matchstick-cut pieces of carrot and daikon radish, along with some sliced jalapeños. I thought the brine would also be a good start for the base of my dressing, as it already had the sweet, salty and spicy flavors I was seeking.

The dressing was a bit of a balancing act. I wanted mayonnaise, as it is traditional on the sandwich, but I wanted the final product to have plenty of zip, too. Fish sauce added a savory, umami note; lime juice cut the saltiness of the fish sauce; a little sugar took the harsh edge off the lime; and a squirt of sriracha sauce gave everything a bright, spicy kick.

For my meat, I chose pork loin, which could be grilled quickly and sliced to top my salad (though beef, chicken, shrimp, tofu or mushrooms would all make good stand-ins).

For the marinade, I used more fish sauce for Vietnamese flavor, sugar for added caramelization on the grill, and lemongrass and chiles for some zing.

Finally, I topped the salad with fresh cilantro and chopped scallions, to make my sandwich-to-salad transformation complete. You can serve this salad with a sliced baguette on the side, to bring the origin of the dish full circle. But this crisp, refreshing salad is so substantial, you won’t even miss the carbs.

Garrett Miller is a freelance writer, food blogger and graduate of Los Altos High School and UC Santa Cruz. For more of his comfort-food recipes, visit noodletherapy.wordpress.com.

Banh Mi Salad with Grilled Lemongrass Pork

Meat

• 1 pound pork loin, sliced into 1/2-inch-thick medallions

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1/4 cup fish sauce

• 1 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 1 large shallot, minced

• 1 Thai or serrano chile, minced

• Black pepper, freshly ground

Place pork in container. In small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Let marinate for at least 1 hour, overnight if possible. Sear in cast-iron skillet 3-4 minutes on each side or grill.

Pickles

• 1/2 pound carrots, matchstick pieces

• 1 bunch red radishes, sliced or 1/2 pound daikon radish, matchstick pieces

• 1 cup warm water

• 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

• 2 tablespoons sugar

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 1 Thai or serrano chile, sliced

Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt and Thai chile in small bowl or, preferably, sealable glass jar. Stir until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add carrots and radishes and let sit for at least 1 hour. Leftover pickles will keep for at least a week in the refrigerator.

Dressing

• 3 tablespoons reserved vinegar mixture

• 3 tablespoons fish sauce

• Juice of 1 lime

• 2 teaspoons sugar

• 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise

• 1 tablespoon olive oil

• 1 tablespoon sriracha

• Salt and pepper, to taste

Whisk together dressing ingredients until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings with more lime juice, sugar or sriracha, as needed.

Salad

• 1 head romaine, roughly chopped

• 1/2 English cucumber, sliced

• 1/2 bunch scallions, chopped

• 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves

Toss ingredients in large bowl with as much dressing as desired. Top with pickled vegetables and sliced pork.

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