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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Calling all veggies : Town Crier writers pick holiday greens


Photos courtesy of Joy, Eve Hill-Agnus, and Town Crier File Photo
Vegetable side dishes adapt easily to each feast’s flavor profile, and each cook’s tolerance for time and timing in the kitchen.

This year, latkes and Hanukkah chocolates are sharing space on the table with turkeys and stuffing. With so many dishes defined by tradition, the vegetable on the side offers a place to flex your creativity.

I called up Town Crier food columnists to get their top picks for green-inspired innovation, and claimed my own favorite candidate for November feasting. Whether you like your veggies raw or topped with marshmallows, we’ve got an approach for every palate

Brussels sprouts

Several of us tussled over who got to write an ode to brussels sprouts, which reward even a hectic cook combating a crowded kitchen. I toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and then temporarily forget them in the oven, which is nearly always shared with some other, more demanding dish. Sprouts are hardy enough to survive the abuse, emerging moist and soft on the inside and crisply browned on the outside, textured like a riff on roast potatoes. Break the rules a bit with your little buds and do something unexpected – halve them and candy them with brown sugar and bacon, or caramelize them with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. Or eat them cold, shaved into a slaw with bacon, apple or almonds (or all three) and tossed with a vinaigrette. Prefer hazelnuts or pecans? Add them to any of the preparations described above.

Kale

Eve Hill-Agnus, author of the Town Crier’s “The Roots of Everyday Life” column: “Go kale! It is somewhat outrageous. Curly and brushy, the Brillo Pad of greens, it looks like nothing else in the produce aisle. It’s not like buttery, mild-mannered spinach or even arugula. You have to build a relationship – commit to coaxing and taming and domesticating that vegetal goodness. I learned this from a raw-food maven who taught me to make kale salad. Her version is a culinary meditation. To make raw kale pliant not pointy, supple not scratchy, she massages it with her hands – just her hands and a bit of olive oil. It’s grounding and meditative to stand at your counter and feel those feisty, curlicue leaves soften. Give them a rough chop, douse them in lemon juice and add a pinch of salt: an instant salad, vibrant and sturdy. You’ve worked a little magic.

“With kale season in full swing, I’ve been making my own variation of the kale salad. It’s a little more elaborate and a little less raw. and frankly less ruminative, but delicious. I sauté finely chopped kale briefly in olive oil, just until it starts to soften. Then I toss the still-warm kale in a bowl with a great quantity of chopped parsley. The result is a green confetti that’s bold in flavor and deep in color. Sometimes I add shredded zucchini. Always lemon juice, for the acidity (and sometimes pomegranate molasses, for the same reason). Dried cranberries for color. And pumpkin, sunflower or hemp seeds for crunch.”

Squash

“Squash holds the culinary key to fall and winter,” asserted Sarah Manning, who writes the “Nourished” column.

”I’ll admit I jump the gun every year, with my first batch of pumpkin quick bread appearing in September. But with so many varieties of winter squash to choose from – butternut, acorn, spaghetti, kabocha and endless pumpkin varietals – I’ve never known winter baking boredom. Here’s why: With squash, you can easily make a delicious soup, casserole, sauté or puree. You can bake it into any quick-bread recipe. You can dice and stir into fragrant risotto. Squash can swing toward sweet or savory.

“It tastes just as comforting broiled with brown sugar as it does roasted and topped with shiitake mushrooms, goat cheese and balsamic reduction. Plus, squash is friendly to other squash. Stir a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin puree into your next butternut squash soup for a simple change that delights the senses.”

Sweet potatoes

“Around here, it’s not Thanksgiving without a wide, shallow dish (for maximum marshmallow coverage) of candied sweet potatoes,” emailed Town Crier contributor Megan Kempston (formerly Rowe).

“While there are plenty of people who take issue with this holiday staple (for reasons I can’t quite wrap my head around – it’s a vegetable ... with marshmallows. What’s not to love?), there are also dozens of other ways to eat sweet potatoes.

“I particularly like sweet potatoes with spicy sausage, chopped together in a similar concept to corn or fruit salsa. Whether in soup (with sausage, beans, and kale) or a salad (with sausage, farro and kale), little cubes of roasted or boiled sweet potatoes are a perfect creamy, smooth note next to the spice of the sausage. I’ve also put sweet potato on pizza (sliced thin, under mozzarella along with some kale), where they almost turn into a sauce. And then, of course, there are mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, sweet potato chips, sweet potato biscuits, sweet potato pie ...

“Essentially, if you could use either pumpkin or regular potatoes in any dish, you can probably substitute sweet potatoes. They’re also healthier than regular potatoes and easier than dealing with whole pumpkins. I use them where recipes call for butternut squash when I don’t have the time to take apart a giant squash – with sweet potatoes, you just peel them and chop them.”

Mediterranean medley

Blanche Shaheen, author of the “Feast in the Middle East” column, couldn’t limit herself to just one vegetable, so she tossed out four Mediterranean-inspired options:

“I love eggplant, broiled and topped with tomato sauce and toasted pine nuts. It’s usually made in a casserole, over lamb or chicken sautéed with garlic and onions, but that can be excluded. I also love roasted cauliflower with garlic and Parmesan cheese. Or zucchini “carpaccio” salad, served raw with carrots and Parmesan. Or artichokes roasted in lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh oregano, basil or thyme.”

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