Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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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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