During autumn months in East Alabama, the return of cool temperatures calls for outdoor dining either as a dinner for two or entertaining friends before or after a football game. A fiesta is ideal with a menu of hearty Mexican inspired dishes by a blazing outdoor fire. In front of a fireplace, cover a table with a bold, multihued striped cloth with deep blue, recalling clear azure skies of Santa Fe and warm red and green tones reminiscent of the fiery chilies of spicy southwestern cuisine. Select dishes with the same brilliant shades.Bright sunflowers pair pleasingly with purple Alstroemeria in vibrant apothecary bottles attached with raffia to woodland sprays. Secure in tall pottery vases and metal urns. Repeat the colors in place mats.
Layer plates on straw and cheerful colored chargers. Mark place settings with names written on jalapeno peppers tied with raffia. Embellish the setting with small vases filled with Alstroemeria to complete the lively ambience for a jovial evening.Start with a festive Layered Mexican Spread with a sublimeblending of flavors and textures served on a wooden stand. Warm up quickly with bowls of Tortilla Soup rich with black beans and corn topped with crispy corn tortilla strips. Serve in vivid mustard yellow and red bowls.Arrange marinated grilled steak and chicken strips with sautéed onions and peppers on a platter elevated with an iron stand. Place guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese and salsa in separate containers to allow guests to create their own fajitas with favorite toppings.
For a scrumptious side dish, offer Chile Cheese Casserole laced with green chilies and garnished with sliced tomatoes. Serve in a mustard-colored casserole dish to continue the theme. Offer glasses of Sangria enhanced with the tang of orange, lime and lemon to sip throughout the meal. As the last amber flames glow softly, present individual creamy flans with a decadent caramel topping for a sweet finale to a perfect fall evening outdoors with friends.
For the recipes, visit the Recipes & Tablescapes area of the site.