To easily trim cilantro (or flat-leaf parsley) from its stems, hold the bunch, then angle the blade of a chef's knife almost parallel with the stems. With short, downward strokes, shave off the leaves where they meet the stems.
Cayenne pepper gives a little kick to bowls of this pretty golden soup, a first course that everyone seems to love. It can be made several days ahead to fit a busy schedule, then heated up whenever needed.
Fresh cranberries make and unusual, but sensational salsa, which is great in the fall when cranberries are readily available. This brilliant red appetizer will attract party goers to it.—Jerri Gradert, Lincoln, Nebraska