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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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