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Tapping into tapenade

Olive tapenade, an earthy, salty paste of olives, capers, anchovies, garlic and other flavorings, is easy to find jarred in specialty shops. But when you whip up a batch yourself at home, the flavors pop in a surprising way that makes you never want to buy it in a jar again.

Mini tomatoes are garden gems

They have names like Jolly Elf, Indigo Rose, Orange Fizz, Baby Cakes and Cherry Buzz. They come in stop-sign red, deep ruby, golden yellow, chocolate brown and pale orange. They can look like a big gum ball or a plump olive.

Grilling flank steak

Recent guests at an online chat for The Washington Post included cookbook author and food blogger Cathy Barrow and writer and caterer Vered Guttman. Here are edited excerpts from that chat.

Your Place: Is mold testing necessary?

Joe Ponessa, who spent 25 years as a housing, indoor environment and health specialist at Rutgers Cooperative Extension, responded to a recent column about mold testing. He said much of what he knows about mold remediation comes from associating with some of the top mold people in the country.

In airfare wars, consumers win

As we get closer to the end of August, expect to see some wild and crazy airfares. The end of the busy summer travel season always brings a drop in prices, but we have also seen some short-lived sales recently with great fares for travel in summer and beyond.

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Putting a lifetime cost on autism

PHILADELPHIA — Kristina Rhodes loves helping families with autistic children. But she may have to cut back her hours as an early-intervention therapist because her own autistic son, Erik, 10, isn’t thriving in school.

After wedding, man’s kitchen “cave” redone for a couple

PHILADELPHIA — They married later than some do; he is a school psychologist in Delaware County, she is a property manager. After the honeymoon, she moved in with her furniture, including an enormous family-style table, and together they concluded that his longtime man-cave kitchen definitely had to be redone — and redone on a budget.

Style at Home: Celebrate summer with red, white and blue

What are some of your favorite summer memories? Mine was my first — and last — attempt to be a beauty queen. One Fourth of July, our tiny country club in Atchison, Kan., held a beauty pageant for little girls. Even then I was into props, so I borrowed the neighbor’s poodle, slipped on my plastic high heels and sashayed around the pool for the judges. I lost. To a pretty little girl with long blonde hair. Not surprising, since one of my favorite summer games was to play cowgirl and roam the neighborhood — our ranch.