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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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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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