Fri08012014

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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Special Sections

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies

Long live the lawn: Los Altos native offers drought-resistant strategies


Bill Steiner’s grass is green, left, even amid the drought. He followed Max Todd’s water and maintainence instructions after having his lawn aerated, Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

Green lawns are not necessarily on the endangered list during the d...

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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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Stuff your cookies with seasonal treats


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
Stuff cookies with nuts and fruit, above, and top with a sprinkle of flaked salt to create a hearty holiday treat.

Chock-full of nuts and fruit, my go-to holiday cookies (which I cook all year round) are hard to mess up even during busy party prep and they offer a hospitable premise: a thoroughly sweet treat, with redeeming qualities.

They’re tart, rich, nutty and crunchy, with a crinkle of salt on the top. The red and white of cherries and white chocolate suit the season, but this isn’t a cheesy Christmas cookie that puts appearance over flavor – it’s a fully loaded feast. The half-oat, half-flour base provides a satisfying heft while the add-ins add up to an almost granolalike effect.

British baker and food magnate Nigella Lawson, who inspired these cookies, calls for only white chocolate, but I don’t think we should stop there – I add white and dark chocolate, preferably chopped from a bar rather than premade chips. The fractured irregularity of chopped chocolate makes for a beautiful-looking cookie and gives entertaining variation in each bite.

For dried fruit, Lawson chose cranberries, but I prefer the bright, sharp flavor of cherries. Anything with an acid bite will do. For nuts, pick a favorite (or what’s in the cupboard) – I alternate between walnut and pecan.

Lawson’s holiday book, “Feast: Food to Celebrate Life” (Hyperion, 2003), includes the original version of the recipe that follows and offers a model for thinking about how we bake. Although some baking requires great precision (see: Lawson’s peanut brittle recipe, which I botched three times in a row), other treats allow for a roguish amount of variation, tuning the taste to your whims and what’s on hand.

The felicitous conjunction of salt and sweet on the dessert menu isn’t news to anyone at this point, but this recipe can convince you that it has a place in the world of humble homemade cookies.

Lawson has a long-professed love for Maldon Sea Salt, a flaky variety so light it brings bursts of flavor without the too-strong punch of heavier-grained varieties. Widely available in the U.S. in recent years, you can now regularly stock up on boxes that once had to be hand-carried from the UK.

Years ago, I forgot to add salt to one round of these cookies – a disaster caught too late – but rashly decided to rebound by crushing flakes of Maldon salt on the top of each cookie as I put it in to bake. The outcome: weirdly successful, and almost certainly assisted by the fact that, like a heathen, I bake with salted butter (increasing the amount of salt that goes into a recipe, but also accidentally hedging against a forgotten ingredient). This forgiving formulation tastes delicious regardless of the liberties (accidental or otherwise) you may take with it.

Cherry White-Chocolate Cookies

• 1 cup flour

• 1 cup rolled oats

• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 9 tablespoons chilled butter

• 2/3 cup dark brown sugar

• 1/2 cup white sugar

• 1 egg at room temperature

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2/3 cup dried cherries

• 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

• 1/2 cup white chocolate, chopped

• 1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped

• 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and rolled oats in bowl. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy, then beat in egg and vanilla.

Delicately beat flour mixture into butter/sugar (minimal mixing keeps the cookies tender), then fold in cherries, nuts and chocolate.

Using your hand or a spoon, scoop tablespoon-sized chunks of dough, gently mold into roundish shapes and place on cookie sheet. Use fork to gently flatten each ball. Sprinkle with sea salt, crushing flakes with your fingers as you go.

Bake 15 minutes, until cookies are tinged a pale gold. They will be too soft to lift immediately off the baking sheet, so let cool unmolested.

Makes two dozen cookies.

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