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Food & Wine

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients

Chocolaty character of stout beers blends spicy, sweet ingredients


photo Courtesy of Derek Wolfgram
Aged coffee beans join beer in Modern Times’ bourbon barrel stout.

Dark beers like stout highlight flavors reminiscent of coffee and chocolate, resulting in a great canvas for brewers to blend nontraditional in...

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Your Health

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options

El Camino Hospital expands mental health treatment options


Asher Kohn/Town Crier
Shovels in hand, Dr. Peter Fung, from left, El Camino Healthcare District board chairman; Russ Satake, El Camino Hospital Foundation board chairman; donors Donna and John Shoemaker; State Sen. Jerry Hill; and Assemblyman Rich ...

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Your Home

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides  seasonal decorating service

Holidays by design: Los Altos company provides seasonal decorating service


Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Amy Fischer of Spectrum Interior Design decorated Los Altos resident Katie Beers’ living room for the holidays last week.

Don’t worry if you have no time to shop for unique holiday decor, decorate Christma...

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On The Road

Matt goes full throttle to fix BMW

In November 2015, one of my newer customers brought in his 2011 BMW Z4 35i because the service-engine-soon light went on.

He explained that the car did not idle well and was low on power. We connected the car to the Integrated Service Technical Appl...

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Senior Lifestyles

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages

Making beautiful music together: Foothill Symphonic Winds inspires members of all ages


Photos by Megan V. Winslow/ Town Crier
Members of the ensemble rehearse at Blach Intermediate School.

Something special happens Wednesday nights at Blach Intermediate School. Seventy or so people ranging in age from 18 to 85, of varied backgroun...

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Wedding To Remember

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night

Got a wedding singer? Musicians and engaged couples work in tandem to orchestrate perfect night


Courtesy of Dick Bright
Dick Bright, a veteran Bay Area musician, manages local bands such as the Dick Bright Orchestra, Club 90 and Encore. His bands ramp up the energy at weddings.

A wedding soundtrack draws nearly everyone to the dance floor....

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Your Kids

Back to School

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?

Is Early Decision the right choice for your student?


Courtesy of Hollis Bischoff
This chart compares the rate of Early Decision acceptances with the overall acceptance rate at various colleges.

As students apply to an ever-increasing list of schools, colleges are challenged to predict accuratel...

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Flip burgers with Mother Nature: Going green at the grill

 

Each spring, millions of outdoor cooking enthusiasts dust off the grill in anticipation of another fun-filled summer of backyard barbecues. But at what cost to the environment? According to Sierra magazine, the estimated 60 million barbecues held on the Fourth of July in the United States consume enough energy – in the forms of charcoal, lighter fluid, gas and electricity – to power 20,000 households for a year.

If this statistic has your grilling outlook going from sunny to overcast, don’t panic. It’s quite easy to minimize your environmental impact while grilling by taking a few simple steps that won’t diminish your experience. Yes, you too can grill green, and these simple tips will help get your grill on while keeping Mother Earth on your good side. After all, charcoal has been in use since the days of Henry Ford – but you’re not still driving a Model T, are you?

One of the biggest factors in grilling green is the fuel source used to grill. All grilling fuels use natural resources and emit pollutants into the environment, but some do so at a much higher rate than others. Charcoal grills and lighter fluids contribute more to ground-level ozone, produced when nitrogen oxides and volatile organic chemicals combine in hot-weather conditions. In addition, charcoal produces more carbon monoxide and particulates than other grilling options.

Though gas grills offer one of the quickest ways to barbecue, gas grills are expensive. Liquid propane gas is a nonrenewable fossil fuel and many a barbecue has been put on hold due to empty propane-tank syndrome. But charcoal and gas aren’t the only fuel sources to consider when grilling. Recent innovations in the industry have opened the door to a greener grilling experience.

One such innovation is the FlameDisk – a charcoal alternative made from solid ethanol, a renewable biofuel. Food grilled on the FlameDisk tastes as if it were grilled over charcoal, but this eco-friendly grill fuel emits 99 percent less carbon monoxide and 91 percent fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) than grilling with charcoal. Plus, the byproducts created when ethanol is burned include only water and a modest amount of carbon dioxide. Unlike lighter fluid and propane gas, the FlameDisk is not derived from nonrenewable petroleum.

Wood is another green fuel option, but like charcoal it burns dirty, producing tiny soot particles that pollute the air and can cause health problems. However, ash from wood can be disposed of in the garden, and is a greener option when obtained from a sustainable source like hickory or mesquite – charcoal ashes aren’t garden friendly disposables.

Your selection of grilling accessories determines how much impact your grilling experience has on the environment. Using real plates and silverware adds some class to a cookout, and you’ll be reducing your waste by avoiding paper and plastic.

Many highly biodegradable disposable options have recently become available on the market. If you’re wrapping food in aluminum foil, consider using 100-percent recycled aluminum.

Cleanup can be both easy and green when you use natural cleaners, many of which you can make safely and affordably in your own kitchen using common ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and water.

While charcoal reigned supreme in the days of Henry Ford, there’s no reason the modern-day barbecue can’t save the earth – one burger or tofu dog at a time. Nobody expects you to cook your next turkey in a solar oven, but it’s good sense to consider grilling green as an eco-friendly barbecue option in the 21st century. It may not be as green as switching to a hybrid car, but reducing our carbon footprints can make a difference over time.

For more information, visit www.FlameDisk.com.

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