What's Cooking With Kim O'Donnel
Tuesday, March 10, 2009; 1:00 PM
Calling all foodies! Join us for another edition of What's Cooking, our live online culinary hour with Kim O'Donnel.
A graduate of Peter Kump's New York Cooking School, Kim spends much of her time in front of the stove or with her nose in a cookbook. She was online Tuesday, March 10 at 1 p.m. to answer your cooking questions.
The transcript follows.
Kim O'Donnel: Hey cooking people, how's everybody doing? First, the fun stuff: Eating Down the Fridge is spreading like wildfire! We've got about 120 households from 30 states (and four additional countries) listed on the EDF Honor Roll, and the Facebook Group is chatting up a storm 24/7! There will be a special chat just for the EDF this Thursday at 1ET, with special guests and food writers Julia Watson (eatwashington.com) and Eddie Gehman Kohann (Obama Foodorama), joining me in the fridge clearing.
The not-so-fun stuff is that next week is the final week for this chat, a victim of cost-cutting measures. But to be clear: the blog,
, continues. I'm thinking of creating a day that mimics the chat, or maybe the chat leftovers, so that readers can still have their specific questions answered, so stay tuned for that and for news on a new chat home. Now, let's start cooking...
Pearl Onions: So inspired by the idea of eating down the fridge week, I rooted through my freezer last night. I found a bag of pearl onions that I am not quite sure what to do with. Any good vegetarian ideas? I can only think of bland mushy things to do like pot pie- was hoping to find something more flavorful.
Kim O'Donnel: Pearly, I think pot pie is a GREAT idea for those onions -- they don't need to be mushy! Have you seen my recipe for ad hoc veggie pot pie with a cheddar crust? You can braise the onions, with a little wine and serve'em up with your favorite grain...or put'em on top of a pizza crust...you got any hearty greens?
Lovely Bethesda, Md.: Hi there! A few weeks ago I made a delicious pomegranate lamb dish. It was made from lamb shoulder and there were bunches of bones involved. Since my mom taught me that where there are bones there is broth, I made broth. I am not sure what to use it in. The broth is very nice -- a bit heartier than most -- and I would love some ideas on what would showcase it well. I have perhaps a few quarts. Thanks!
Kim O'Donnel: Good for you -- you could make a most fabulous lamb stew with that broth and get yourself a cheap cut of meat to go with ...even a curry would be so lovely...
Madison, WI: First of all, I'm totally bummed that they are taking away your chat - I'll really miss it! But I'm glad you'll be keeping up with the blog, which leads me to my question. I've had the bread book you raved about on hold at the library for weeks (I should just buy it already), but I want to get started right away with the recipe you posted. I just wanted to clarify one part of the recipe: the yeast. The recipe says to mix it with the water and then dump the flour in. Immediately? I usually let the water and yeast sit for a few minutes until it's foamy. Is it okay to skip that step, or do I need instant yeast? Thanks!
Kim O'Donnel: Hey there Madison, thanks for your kind words. Yes, I'll be keeping up with the blog, and I hope you'll stop by early and often. Re: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: YES, I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you can mix everything in together, and NO you don't need instant yeast, you can use plain old granulated. The recipe is quite forgiving.
Bethesda Mom: Hi Kim!
As one who's read the chats from the beginning, I will miss them -- without you, I never would have started roasting vegetables!
In my EDF effort, I have a number of cans of beans, at least 2 black, and 2 pinto, that I feel I should something with. If I wanted to use them for burritos, how should I prepare them?
Kim O'Donnel: Hey Mom, I have a whole bunch of canned beans myself and been thinking it's time for huevos rancheros this week. Mister MA will be doing a jig. Here's what I'd do: Saute half an onion in sauce pan, with a little olive oil, and add a teaspoon of cumin and dried oregano, if you've got. Stir, make a paste. throw in the 2 cans of black beans. A little sherry is good at this time, but no worries if you're without. Bring up to a simmer, then lower heat and allow to heat through and reduce a little. Taste for salt -- and for heat -- and you will need to drain a bit before throwing into that burrito skin.
Lamb Broth: Scotch Broth! Barley, carrots, some lamb and potatoes -- it's perfect to showcase a great broth.
Kim O'Donnel: NICE.
Re: Pearl Onions: They are excellent roasted with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Kim O'Donnel: Brilliant!
Takoma, D.C.: I tried your dark and stormy pear crisp this weekend. Lovely, especially when topped with a bit of vanilla ice-cream. Two questions:
1) When you say to add the raisins to the fruit, do you add just the rum-soaked raisins, or do you add the rum too?
2) Have you tried it with apples instead of pears? Any caveats before making the fruit switch? (No particular reason, I just like apples more than pears). It seems like apples, ginger and raisins would all work fine together. Would anything need to be tweaked? Thanks.
Kim O'Donnel: Hey Takoma -- I think I've added the whole kit 'n' cabooodle, rum & all to the mix, but you don't need to. I have NOT done this with apples, but why not? Keep me posted! I think I'd probably change the lime to lemon, tho.
EDF: Ok, I came to this too late to really participate because I don't have enough staples on hand to make it through the week without shopping.
But in the spirit of the thing, I toasted a tired-out pita and spread it with the remnants of a tub of hummus for lunch today. I also finished a bottle of lemonade.
I have some ricotta and cooked rice, and found a recipe for a dessert using both. And I have some tired grapefruit which I will use in a smoothie, and some aging clementines which I will use in a clementine bundt cake.
Kim O'Donnel: Um, it sounds like you're doing it, my dear! Everybody has approached the EDF from diff. angles, depending on the circumstances of their individual lives. Some folks went shopping; some didn't - I think the key here is to use this challenge as an opportunity to be more mindful, to be with our stuff and appreciate what we have in our collective midst, to inspire creativity and resourcefulness and to help each other when we need it the most.
Clementine bundt cake: Can the EDF-er with the clementine bundt cake please share the recipe? Sounds LOVELY!
Kim O'Donnel: YEAH!
Upstate, N.Y.: For the chatter with the cans of beans to use up, I'd suggest a big pot of vegetarian chili. It's great when made with different varieties of beans.
I sure will miss your chat, Kim. It's been a great way to get new ideas and to share ideas with others.
Kim O'Donnel: Great idea, Upstate. I wonder if reader has a little chipotle chile in the cabinets...I'm thinking of having readers submit questions to me every Monday and from the batch, I'll pick 3-5 for viewing on Tuesday, kinda like the chat leftovers, in the blog space, fyi. I also hope to have some news very soon about a new chat home, as I'm talking with two interested parties. Those updates with be available on my Facebook Fan page and in my weekly e-letter, which you can subscribe to at writingfood AT gmail.com
PA: Hi Kim, in the spirit of EDF, I have a package of small corn tortillas I bought for a recipe a while back -- made it, but still have lots left over. Not sure what to do with them (whatever I do, has to appeal to a toddler). Can I freeze whatever I don't use now, for later? Thanks!
Kim O'Donnel: I have a bunch of small corn tortillas too, PA. I'm planning on softening mine up with a little oil in a skillet, then serving with eggs and/or black beans. I think it depends how old those tortillas are re: freezing: you could crisp them up and make tortilla chips, sprinkle with salt and lime and just enjoy!
CT: As a former resident of several disaster-prone zones, I'm finding myself nervous about EDF. I've always stockpiled stuff in my pantry and get nervous to see empty spots on my shelves! Any calming words?
Kim O'Donnel: AW, darlin'. Remember, everything in this life is temporary! Think of this as an exercise in resourcefulness, putting yoru skills to work, nothing more. It's all about enlightenment, not emotional imprisonment!
Clementine Cake: I'm not the original poster, but I made this cake (from SmittenKitchen) over the weekend, and it was AMAZING!
Clementine Cake Adapted from Nigella Lawson
4 to 5 clementines (about 375grams/slightly less than 1 pound total weight)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) sugar
2 1/3 cups (250 grams) ground almonds
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
Optional: Powdered sugar for dusting, or for making a glaze
Put the clementines in a pot with cold water to cover, bring to the boil, and cook for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the seeds. Then finely chop the skins, pith, and fruit in the processor (or by hand, of course).
Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
Butter and line an 8-inch (21 centimeter) springform pan with parchment paper. (I used a 9-inch, it worked fine.)
Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds, and baking powder. Mix well, adding the chopped clementines.
Pour the cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 50 minutes, when a skewer will come out clean; you might have to cover the cake with foil after about 20 to 30 minutes to stop the top from over-browning.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool, in the pan on a rack. When the cake is cold, you can take it out of the pan and dust it with powdered sugar. I made a glaze of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of clementine juice because I was convinced the cake would be too bitter. It was not necessary. Nigella says the cake is best on the second day, but ours never made it that long.
Variations: Nigella says she's also made this with an equal weight of oranges and lemons, in which case the sugar is increased to 1 1/4 cups.
Kim O'Donnel: Fantastic -- thanks so much for sharing!
EDF after adventurous tofu purchase: Hi Kim! Very sad to see these chats go. My question is, I have a container of extra firm tofu to use up this week -- and no idea what to do with it. Tiny studio apartment = limited in terms of sauces, etc. as well as few cooking methods. I am looking at either a saute pan or a baking sheet. Any ideas?
Kim O'Donnel: Drain the tofu of all the water, place it on a plate, then weigh it down to all ow it to continue to drain. Cut into slices or cubes, and marinate. You got some soy sauce? Sesame oil? Ginger? Garlic? Chiles? Use any or all. Marinate for about an hour. Then dust in cornstarch. then saute.
Arlington Gay: Kim, as promised my EDF update:
Day 1, I put a pork loin in the crock pot (it had been in the freezer for closer to six months). Cooked with BBQ sauce until it fell apart, served as sandwiches with leftover potatoes from the night before.
Tonight, I freed up some serious space in my tiny pantry. Two cans of Maryland Crab Soup that would have been bland if not helped... 2 cans of diced toamtoes, 1 can of corn, 2 cans of crab meat (all taking up space in the pantry). Mostly emptied my giant can of Old Bay, and when it's empty I'll get a normal size can. I did buy a loaf of garlic bread (last night's bread didn't turn out...) but otherwise, this was a pantry meal.
I told Kim I don't have enough in the freezer or pantry to go a week without shopping, but other than a few proteins and produce, I already have ideas for the rest of the week.
- 1 eye round roast - most are close in size. - 1 pkg. lipton onion soup. - 1 can cream of mushroom soup - 1 can cream of celery soup - Optional Ingredients o garlic and pepper, to taste o 1 bag baby carrots o 2 cups halved red potatoes o 1 or 2 packages of whole mushrooms
1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. 2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Make sure there's extra so you can wrap the entire roast for baking. 3. Place roast in center of lined pan. 4. Add onion soup mix and both cans of soup. Put carrots and potatoes on top if you're including this option. (I usually include both as it makes an entire dinner in one pan. Add mushrooms last--1 package if using other options, 2 packages if not.) 5. If you like, a little pepper and/or garlic never hurts. 6. Fold up the aluminum foil and seal all around 7. Bake for at least 4 hours and up to 6.
- The original recipe used two cans of cream of mushroom soup. I've also made this with two cans of cream of celery. - I often use two packages of onion soup mix. Onion mushroom soup works well also, especially if you include mushrooms in the mix. - If you don't include potatoes, this roast is delicious served over egg noodles. - I've also had good luck with this recipe in my crock pot. Omit the aluminum foil and cook on Low for 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally.
Kim O'Donnel: GAFF, you've been quite the industrious little kitchen elf. Well done!
Alexandria, Va.: Kim, I'm so sad to see this chat go! I'll be following your other online things, you can be sure.
I took a frozen pizza dough thing from Trader Joe's out of the freezer last week. How long would it last in the fridge (pre-baked, natch)? Is it already too late?
Kim O'Donnel: Have you taken a whiff? It's probably fine. But don't delay...
RE: dark and stormy pear crisp: Hey Kim, I have done the crisp with apples (and with apples and pears) and I love it just as much as with the pears alone (and I do love that version). I still use the lime, and have also added dried cranberries with the raisins. And, if you don't want to throw the rum in with the raisins after soaking, strain the liquid and drink it straight. It's raisin-infused rum (or cranberry and raisin-infused rum) and it is a lovely little aperitif.
And let me add, Kim, that the crisp is one of my favorite recipes that you've taught us over the years. Thanks so much for your recipes and advice and stories. I'll miss you here in chatspace (and hope that you find a new home for the chat soon?) but will continue to follow you in the blog and on Facebook.
Kim O'Donnel: Aw, sweet. I love how you're improvised. Thanks so much for your warm words. Just so everyone understands: I'm not going away, and I am working very hard to find a new chat home and the blog lives on! I also am working with my agent, to sell a book idea that I've dreamed up; we're hoping to get some publisher nibbles this spring!
Arlington Gay: Hey, Kim, I keep forgetting to mention something. A few weeks ago, someone posted about microwaving garlic for a few seconds. I was making a dish that needed 5 or 6 cloves, so I gave it a try. Zapped for 10 or 15 seconds and the skins just slid right off. Much easier than the knife crush trick. They were slightly softened, but as I was going to sautee 'em that wasn't an issue.
Kim O'Donnel: For those with a microwave, this sounds like a pretty nifty trick...
To use up those corn tortillas: You can make my adapted version of an easy to make Salvadorian pupusa. Place some cheese, spices and fixings of your choice (in the spirit of EDF, maybe some leftover chicken, some black beans, etc.) between two of the tortillas. Heat up a little oil in a saute pan and cook the pupusa as you would a grilled cheese, until each side is brown and the cheese is melted. Easy, delicious and toddler-appropriate, too!
Kim O'Donnel: Tasty idea. In fact, you're making me hungry. I've got leftover turkey from the other night...and black beans in the cupboard....
Lamb Broth...: Make a very rich risotto. Throw caution to the wind and cut it with a hearty red. It will be a tinge pink, but who cares. I'm not a shroom fan, but if you've got 'em, they would be nice too.
I'll miss the chats, but you're the best excuse I've heard lately to join Facebook!
Kim O'Donnel: I love the idea of a lamb-y risotto! Nice call. Yeah, come on down and join us over at FB!
Terp in the Kitchen: The lamb stock question prompted me to ask something i've been meaning to for a while...
Is it better to make stock from cooked bones or from actual pieces? Or doesn't it matter? My MIL makes stock from chicken thighs (bone in, skin on), then uses the chicken in other stuff (or hubby eats it with mayo and boiled vegetables - eeeeeeewwwww!). I've made her stock, but it always seems to yield so little and have so much leftover chicken I don't know what to do with it all.
BTW, SO inspired by your bread making posts! Is there a whole-grain version of the 5 min/day variety?!
Kim O'Donnel: TERP! Better to make stock from bones. Next time you have a whole chick, for example, cut out the back, clean it and throw into the freezer. I pulled one out last week while Mister MA and I were under the covers with the flu, and we were able to have wonderful stock in about 90 minutes. Don't forget those onion skins!
San Francisco: The cooking novice here -- the one who asked about the first set of pots/pans. (Thanks for answering!) What's the difference, if any, between using a glass dish and a ceramic dish for baking/roasting?
Kim O'Donnel: Hey there, for beginners, I highly recommend ceramic over glass, which is more sensitive to variations in temperature. I've cracked a Pyrex more than once.
Laurel guy: Simple ideas for the tofu from my Asian mother. Press the water out of the tofu as KOD suggested above and cut into about 1" x 1" x 2 inch "fingers." Chop some scallions and toss in with one scrambled egg and some soy. Roll the tofu first in some cornstarch, then in the egg mixture, then back in the cornstarch (I sometimes leave off the second coating of cornstarch because of the mess). Pan fry in a little olive oil (Mom used vegetable oil, I use olive oil). The fingers can be dipped in many different sauces, but I usually mix a little hoisin with a little chili paste and soy (all staples in my half-Asian household).
Kim O'Donnel: Nice going, Laurel. Thanks for adding on some of your Mama's notes!
detroit, mi: hi kim, i left this question on your blog as well, but as part of the EDF challenge, i found a bag of frozen shrimp from about 6 months ago. it was shrimp i bought fresh at the fish counter and then froze. can i still use it? is it safe to eat? i'm breastfeeding, so i want to be super sure it's safe, but i would hate to throw out a bag of jumbo tiger shrimp, they were expensive!
Kim O'Donnel: Here's what I want to know -- wrapped nice and tight? Do you see a layer of freezer burn? Talk to me.
Laurel guy: Carmelize some onions and add the lamb broth to it for a great onion soup. Add a slice of whatever bread is around, grate up whatever cheese is left in the fridge and bake/toast for about 5-8 minutes...wonderful.
Kim O'Donnel: Oh I love this idea -- particularly for the EDF. Nice going!
Bread dough: I recently got a Kitchen Aid mixer with dough hook. I always used a food processor for bread doughs before. What is the basic method? Seems you must start with liquids first, and then add flour, which is the opposite of the method with the food processor. How long should you let the machine knead the dough? The food processor is about 30 seconds, I found one recipe that said 10 minutes. Surely that is not right? The one time I did it, the dough seemed ready in about a minute. Should I run it longer?
Kim O'Donnel: Really depends on your recipe. For the no-knead recipe I featured in yesterday's blog space, you can mix the ingredients until just combined, and call it a day. No kneading required. Have a look at recipe -- you won't believe how easy it is.
Quesadillas, oven-baked style: Use the leftover tortillas for a tasty quesadilla. Instead of grilling, I rub just a tad of olive oil on one side. Lay it face down on a cookie sheet. Add cheese, beans, jalapenos, chicken, tomatoes -- whatever you have. Top with a bit more cheese (helps hold the baked quesadilla together) and add second tortilla. Rub with a bit of olive oil and bake until crispy. Serve with some guacamole, sour cream, salsa. Easy and not fried. BTW, you can do the same with two pieces of bread for oven-baked grilled cheese.
Kim O'Donnel: Yes indeedy. I'm thinking this might be on tonight's menu...and I've got some leftover kale!
San Francisco: Someone brought me a gift from vacation of some weird candied citron stuff. I can't remember if she'd been on Capri or where it came from. Definitely Europe. I have no desire to eat it straight, and I don't like candied fruit in baked goods either. This one might just have to get tossed unless you've got a brainstorm.
Kim O'Donnel: If there's ever a week to ask, this is the one: EDFers, what say you to candied citron?
Creamed Spinach: Kim, some time ago someone asked about this. I had lent my cookbook to a friend, just got it back. So here's a recipe I have found to be delicious. I took it to a pot luck, and not a stitch was left.
from "Real Food for Healthy Kids" by Tracey Seaman and Tanya W. Steel
One 2 1/2 lb. bag baby spinach leaves (I used 2 pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed)
2 T. unsalted butter (I used Earth Spread)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 T unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1 T cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
(I also added a pinch of nutmeg)
Bring 2 in. of water to boil in a 6 qt. pot. Add half the spinach leaves and stir until wilted, about 2 min. Add the remaining spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring until wilted and then adding more spinach. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold running water until cool.
Melt the butter in the same pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 min. Add the flour and stir for 1 min. Gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. In a measuring cup, stir the cornstarch into the cream and then whisk that mixture into the milk mixture along with the salt and pepper. Whisk while simmering for 2 min. and then reduce the heat to low.
Squeeze the spinach by hand or in a fine-mesh sieve to remove as much liquid as possible. Stir the spinach into the sauce and serve.
Kim O'Donnel: Fantastic. Thank you!
Spinach Nutritional info: Oops, forgot the nutritional info:
6 servings--per serving:
240 kcal 13 g fat (8 g saturated) 29 g. carbohydrates 9 g. fiber 7 g. protein
It also says you can make the spinach the day ahead and reheat in a sauecepan, stirring over med. heat until hot, or reheat in a bowl in the microwave, before adding to the sauce.
Kim O'Donnel: as reader was saying...
Detroit, Mich.: Hi Kim, yes, the shrimpies were put in a freezer bag. No freezer burn that I can see, only some crystallization of ice on the surface.
Kim O'Donnel: They're fine. Thaw completely before cooking. What's your recipe plan?
Are clementines the same as tangerines?: Seems to me those I have are the same, is that correct? I want to try that cake, and we have tangerines on hand. Thanks!
Kim O'Donnel: You'll probably need to remove seeds, and the flavor will be more tart...
Leftovers in DC: I was so glad to see Julia Watson's column in your blog this morning ... for I, too, am a food hoarder, and her confession allows me to ask some embarrassing questions:
-- How overripe can bananas be and still be good for banana bread? How about the bananas I stuffed in the freezer before they liquified: Is it OK to cook with them?
-- Does vinegar ever go bad? Someone gave me a bottle each of blood orange vinegar and passion fruit vinegar maybe 5 to 10 years ago. I've never opened them and wonder if they should remain that way.
-- What to do with the fruits and veggies that withered in the refrigerator but didn't grow mold -- there are lemons and limes and carrots and probably more: Are they now condensed flavor capsules, or garbage? Same question for the former cherry tomatoes on the table.
I could go on, but won't. Thank you VERY MUCH for your advice!
Kim O'Donnel: DC, tomorrow's guest blogger Nicole Spiradakis actually shares her recipe for banana bread made from frozen super ripe bananas, so tuned for that. Vinegar can turn, as it's a thing. Do you see mold floating about? The fact that it's sealed makes me think it's okay for consumption, but will it taste good after all this time...I think a taste is in order before using.
Detroit, Mich.: Shrimp recipe plan: definitely a shrimp curry! Onion, tomato, garlic, red chili and shrimp all cooked together. Add some coconut milk and simmer away. Maybe some cubed butternut squash or sweet potato that I have laying around the crisper.
Kim O'Donnel: sounds lovely, Detroit! Keep us posted.
Bread?: Kim, regarding the recipe for bread you just posted -- I'm assuming you can mix the dough in, say, your KitchenAid mixer if have one, and then do you transfer to the plastic bowl? Thanks!
Kim O'Donnel: Yes, indeed.
left coast: Trying to come to terms with a bag of frozen shredded zucchini (was at a loss as to what to do with it when the big zucchini mysteriously arrived on my doorstep last fall). They're kind of big shreds and there is close to a gallon sized bag of them. Hopeless except as compost?
Glad that MAblog continues 'cause I'll miss the chat terribly!
Kim O'Donnel: It could end up being very watery. Have you thawed? Do that, and if it's still good to go, I see a chocolate zucchini cake in your future.
Ohio: I am really bummed out over the paper dropping your chat! It seems my job is going down the tubes here as well, due to plant shut-down. We will forge ahead! About six months ago, I went a little crazy and bought a food saver vacuum sealer. Got buyers remorse, but kept it anyway. It is wonderful. I was the victim of a lot of freezer burn, no matter how carefully I wrapped foods if I didn't use them promptly.The bag material is a little expensive, but can be cleaned and re-used. No freezer burn with this machine and the color of foods stays vibrant. Just a comment for other chatters who may have considered one of these.
Kim O'Donnel: Yes, we will forge ahead, Ohio! I know a lot of folks really like their vacuum sealers. I am happy to know that the bags can be re-used.
Laurel, Md.: I bought red meat on sale a bit ago. I have an eye of round thawing out and I'm thinking of crockpotting it tomorrow -- can I do that? I checked my crockpot cookbook but it's not very helpful. I'm getting clay pot for my birthday next month from Mom but I'll need to eat it before then.
Kim O'Donnel: YES! What kind of flavor profile are you looking for? We can continue this conversation over at Facebook if you want, or in the blog space. I know lots of readers will be thrilled to lend a hand.
Arlington, Va.: Shrimp only need a couple minutes to cook in a curry or creole. Any more than that and they become tough.
Kim O'Donnel: Very true. thanks for chiming in.
Kim O'Donnel: Time to go, people. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you'll join me Thursday at 1ET for a special EDF chat, with special guests, to help you clean out those fridges and pantries. Meanwhile, see you in the blog space: A Mighty Appetite. All best.
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