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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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