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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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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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