Your friends and family will love this Mexican-themed dinner. Feeling a bit more festive? With nearly the same ingredients, you can whip up this Cinco de Mayo party instead.
set the scene
Light the room with luminaria in the colors of the Mexican flag: With a paring knife, cut thin strips or shapes out of the sides of red and green bell peppers, then cut off the tops and scoop out the seeds. Place a tea light at the bottom of each pepper.
Decorate the table with a chile pepper "plant": Place 2 or 3 large bunches of fresh cilantro in a vase. Cut wooden skewers to just below the height of the cilantro and slide chile peppers onto the tips of the skewers; arrange the peppers in the cilantro.
Throw a Day of the Dead Party
1. Decorate with bright colors and plenty of flowers. Traditionally, they're placed on the table and front door as a tribute to the departed. Try reusable, handmade Mexican paper ones ($14 for 6, directfrommexico.com).
2. Go from sweet to spicy. Celebrators believe the strong flavors and aromas entice spirits. Nibble on cooked chiles between bites of dinner: Squeeze a lime and some salt on a fresh poblano and grill it whole.
3. Invite guests over for a big, family-style dinner with lots of different courses. Setting time aside to celebrate is an honorary gesture to those who have passed.