Fri10242014

News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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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

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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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

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

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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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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