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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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Cheesecake lightens up with lemon and spice



Base cheesecake around the tangy flavor of Middle Eastern yogurt this year. Photo Courtesy of Blanche Shaheen

When it comes to entertaining people unfamiliar with Middle Eastern food, I love combining eastern and western influences, allowing the uninitiated to try a new dish that is somewhat familiar at the same time.

Enter my Lemon Labneh Cheesecake with Almond Ginger Crust – yes, that is a mouthful, both literally and figuratively.

Labneh is an Arabic breakfast staple, a kefir cheese that is a cross between cream cheese and Greek yogurt. It is traditionally served with olive oil and pita bread for breakfast, but there are many other uses for the versatile dip. Labneh boasts the healthful addition of probiotics and is less processed than traditional cream cheese – meaning no carrageenan or other questionable fillers.

I created the recipe when I was expecting company and had labneh and almond meal in the refrigerator. Labneh surprises the taste buds with a tart, tangy flavor, so I thought, Why not make a cheesecake with it?

I knew I had little time to make a pie or tart crust, so the almond meal came in handy as well, adding a nutty flavor and satisfying crunch to the dessert. I added ginger snaps to the crust for some extra spice, but if you want a gluten-free dessert, omit them and instead add another 1/2 cup of almond meal and 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger.

The coconut sugar I use for this recipe is another staple in my house because it’s less processed, contains more magnesium and iron than traditional sugar and boasts a lower glycemic index than sugar. The bonus? Coconut sugar has the comforting aroma of toasted graham cracker crumbs, offering more complexity to the flavor of the crust. The coconut sugar also gives the cheesecake a golden color, reminiscent of crème brûlée. Substitute regular sugar for the coconut sugar if you wish.

You can find labneh at any Middle Eastern market, as well as major grocers like Whole Foods and Nob Hill Foods. Coconut sugar is increasingly available at large retailers, including Costco.

My Lemon Labneh Cheesecake with Ginger Almond Crust is much lighter in texture, butter and sugar than traditional cheesecake, but the result is just as satisfying.

Lemon Labneh Cheesecake with Ginger Almond Crust

• 1 1/2 cups almond meal

• 10 ginger snaps (or 1/2 teaspoon ginger)

• 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup coconut sugar (can use regular sugar)

• 1/2 stick butter, melted

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 2 cups labneh (kefir cheese)

• 3 eggs

• Juice of half a lemon

• 2 teaspoons lemon zest

• 1 cup strawberries, sliced, or raspberries

• 1/2 cup seedless raspberry or strawberry jelly

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Combine ginger snaps, almond meal, 1/3 cup coconut sugar and cinnamon in food processor until consistency is of fine crumbs. Transfer mixture into bowl and add melted butter. Combine, then press into bottom of Springform or cake pan (be sure to butter edges of pan to prevent cake from sticking). Set aside.

Beat eggs on high until frothy. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, 1/2 cup coconut sugar and mix on low until smooth. Add labneh and fold in by hand until fully incorporated. A few lumps are OK.

Pour cheese mixture into crust, then place tart on cookie sheet in oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and cheese is set. Let cool.

In small saucepan, melt jelly. Drizzle over finished cheesecake and add fresh berries.

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