Sun09142014

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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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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