Day of the Dead Celebrations

My obsession with Halloween often blinds me to the fact that there is another event occurring this week. Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday, which is celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2 and honors deceased friends and family with special food, drinks, and sugar skulls. Never heard of it? Never fear. We asked a top chef and mom for help in planning a Mexican menu for your very own Day of the Dead Celebration. Or you can visit the Mexican Recipe group for even more inspiration.


Sara Salzinski is a chef instructor at The Chopping Block, a cooking school in Chicago. She shared with us the following menu and recipe for the Day of the Dead cooking class, which is offered this weekend. The best part about it? It's fun to make with kids. Sara says, "It's funny because I have a 3-year-old daughter who LOVES to chop. I obviously can't give her a knife, so we use bench scrapers [what pastry chefs use to divide dough] and she can chop up mushrooms, veggies, cheese, whatever." Hopefully, this menu will inspire you to plan your own Day of the Dead Celebration.

Day of the Dead Menu


Spicy shrimp cocktail (recipe below)

Chile en nogada (pork-stuffed jalapenos in a creamy walnut sauce)

Corn, spinach, and chicken enchiladas verdes

Chocolate Churros

Recipe for Spicy Shrimp Cocktail

1 pound shrimp, cooked

1/2 cup lime juice

3/4 cup ketchup

1-2 tablespoons hot sauce

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 small onion, minced

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Toss the cooked shrimp in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix well.

For the dressing:

1 ripe avocado

1/4 onion, small dice

1 garlic clove, sliced

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 Serrano or jalapeno chili pepper, seeds removed

1 tablespoon lime juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Puree all of the ingredients for the dressing in a blender until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange alternate layers of the shrimp and dressing in glasses and serve.

Do you celebrate this holiday?

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