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A Valentine's Day Menu

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Wake up on the right side of the bed with a sunny breakfast with a Valentine's Day twist. I love how simple this heart-shaped toast is to make; perfect, even for a busy workday.

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For a special romantic dinner, make the classic Italian dish Cacio e Pepe. Hearty red wines, rich desserts, and warm scents always remind me of Valentine's day. Pair this classic Italian dish with a classic Italian wine, such as Chianti.

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No meal is complete without dessert and chocolate is an obvious choice on Valentine's day. These strawberry-ice-cream-filled chocolate cookies are a playful twist on chocolate covered strawberries. 

Inspiration: Cinco de Mayo!

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Cinco de Mayo is one of the liveliest and most colorful celebrations of the year.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla, a conflict in which the Mexican army claimed an unlikely victory over the French.

Today, the holiday has become and occasion to honor Mexican culture and heritage.

This year, I was inspired to create a Cinco de Mayo party menu with some of Martha Stewart Living's most delicious (not to mention beautiful) drinks and dishes.

The vibrant heritage of Mexico's interiors is also worthy of celebration. So I had to include some decor that will hopefully transport you.

Here's my salute to May 5. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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A sprinkle of chili brightens the sweet flavor of sliced mangoes. (marthastewart.com)

1 A sprinkle of chili brightens the sweet flavor of sliced mangoes. (marthastewart.com)

There's a reason iced margaritas are a classic -- they're easy to make but satisfyingly refreshing. (marthastewart.com)

2 There's a reason iced margaritas are a classic -- they're easy to make but satisfyingly refreshing. (marthastewart.com)

Fresh guacamole is essential for any Cinco de Mayo party. (marthastewart.com)

3 Fresh guacamole is essential for any Cinco de Mayo party. (marthastewart.com)

Watermelon-Basil margaritas are a beautiful variation on their traditional cousins. (marthastewart.com)

4 Watermelon-Basil margaritas are a beautiful variation on their traditional cousins. (marthastewart.com)

Tortilla soup would be a delicious first course at a Cinco de Mayo dinner. (marthastewart.com)

5 Tortilla soup would be a delicious first course at a Cinco de Mayo dinner. (marthastewart.com)

Margaritas aren't the only Cinco de Mayo drink. Paloma coolers have similar ingredients, but a splash of Mexican soda is added for punch. (marthastewart.com)

6 Margaritas aren't the only Cinco de Mayo drink. Paloma coolers have similar ingredients, but a splash of Mexican soda is added for punch. (marthastewart.com)

Grilled corn, flecked with chili and a cheesy buttery spread, takes an American classic south of the border. (marthastewart.com)

7 Grilled corn, flecked with chili and a cheesy buttery spread, takes an American classic south of the border. (marthastewart.com)

Mexican Rice Drinks are a great mix of creaminess and bright flavors. (marthastewart.com)

8 Mexican Rice Drinks are a great mix of creaminess and bright flavors. (marthastewart.com)

Margarita soaked melon wedge popsicles make you feel grown-up and kid-like at the same time. (marthastewart.com)

9 Margarita soaked melon wedge popsicles make you feel grown-up and kid-like at the same time. (marthastewart.com)

Turn regular cookies into Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies with a touch of cayenne pepper. (marthastewart.com)

10 Turn regular cookies into Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies with a touch of cayenne pepper. (marthastewart.com)

Fresh fruit soaked in tequila make a great wrap-up to a spicy meal. (marthastewart.com)

11 Fresh fruit soaked in tequila make a great wrap-up to a spicy meal. (marthastewart.com)

Setting a Cinco de Mayo table is really fun with the right accessories. Artisans blow two tones of glass together to create these unique cups. (shopgreige.com)

12 Setting a Cinco de Mayo table is really fun with the right accessories. Artisans blow two tones of glass together to create these unique cups. (shopgreige.com)

You can find these colorful paper flags at craft stores. Cut them apart for easy, festive placemats. (marthastewart.com)

13 You can find these colorful paper flags at craft stores. Cut them apart for easy, festive placemats. (marthastewart.com)

Distressed finishing and wooden accents make this pitcher look like a relic. (douglas rosin,1stdibbs.com)

14 Distressed finishing and wooden accents make this pitcher look like a relic. (douglas rosin,1stdibbs.com)

Tissue paper streamers make for vivid table settings. (marthastewart.com)

15 Tissue paper streamers make for vivid table settings. (marthastewart.com)

Cocktails would look so handsome in these glasses. (trocadero.com)

16 Cocktails would look so handsome in these glasses. (trocadero.com)

Mexican coverlets called

17 Mexican coverlets called "tenangos" are inspired by the wall paintings in the cliffs of Hidalgo. (lavivahome.com)

Mexican inspired hurricanes create a soft evening glow. (designpublic.com)

18 Mexican inspired hurricanes create a soft evening glow. (designpublic.com)

Playful yet polished, this tablecloth could be dressed up or down depending on the party's mood. (robertarollerrabbit.com)

19 Playful yet polished, this tablecloth could be dressed up or down depending on the party's mood. (robertarollerrabbit.com)

These designer napkins are so beautiful, its hard to imagine throwing them away after the party! (casparionline.com)

20 These designer napkins are so beautiful, its hard to imagine throwing them away after the party! (casparionline.com)

Ornate candlestick holders would make stunning centerpieces. (1stdibbs.com)

21 Ornate candlestick holders would make stunning centerpieces. (1stdibbs.com)

This iron and brass chandelier looks like an exotic treasure.  (shopgreige.com)

22 This iron and brass chandelier looks like an exotic treasure. (shopgreige.com)

A vintage alpaca throw would be at home on a wall as a tapestry or on a decorative table. (lavivahome.com)

23 A vintage alpaca throw would be at home on a wall as a tapestry or on a decorative table. (lavivahome.com)

The Hacienda headboard is so appealing both texturally and visually. It was actually designed by one of my college roommates. (casamidy.com)

24 The Hacienda headboard is so appealing both texturally and visually. It was actually designed by one of my college roommates. (casamidy.com)

Here is its opulent cousin in gold. (casamidy.com)

25 Here is its opulent cousin in gold. (casamidy.com)

A beautiful, old-world design adds interest to a simple shape. (shopgreige.com)

26 A beautiful, old-world design adds interest to a simple shape. (shopgreige.com)

Designer Kathryn Ireland used Mexico and Morocco as inspiration for this playful textile. (kathrynireland.com)

27 Designer Kathryn Ireland used Mexico and Morocco as inspiration for this playful textile. (kathrynireland.com)

This settee is upholstered with a

28 This settee is upholstered with a "dhurrie", a traditional floor covering. (wisteria.com)

Handpainted by Mexican artisans, these plates would surely be admired by party guests. (aidtoartisans.org)

29 Handpainted by Mexican artisans, these plates would surely be admired by party guests. (aidtoartisans.org)

Wood and leather make such an interesting texture combination. (pfeiferstudio.com)

30 Wood and leather make such an interesting texture combination. (pfeiferstudio.com)

A Mexican vase makes just as strong a statement alone as it does filled with flowers. (emiliaceramics.com)

31 A Mexican vase makes just as strong a statement alone as it does filled with flowers. (emiliaceramics.com)

Margaritas will sparkle in these crystal vessels. (williamyeowardcrystal.com)

32 Margaritas will sparkle in these crystal vessels. (williamyeowardcrystal.com)

A colorful platter will add a simple and rustic charm to your table. (emiliaceramics.com)

33 A colorful platter will add a simple and rustic charm to your table. (emiliaceramics.com)

Add some personality to your table with this quirky tea set. (emiliaceramics.com)

34 Add some personality to your table with this quirky tea set. (emiliaceramics.com)

35 "Hojas" or leaves, line the edges of this charming plate. (emiliaceramics.com)

Fresh salsas or guacamole would have a great presentation in a bowl like this. (emiliaceramics.com)

36 Fresh salsas or guacamole would have a great presentation in a bowl like this. (emiliaceramics.com)

Succulents are common in Central America. Small succulents would make memorable party favors. (marthastewart.com)

37 Succulents are common in Central America. Small succulents would make memorable party favors. (marthastewart.com)

I thought this bowl would be perfect for serving a Mexican favorite -- fried ice-cream sundaes. (emiliaceramics.com)

38 I thought this bowl would be perfect for serving a Mexican favorite -- fried ice-cream sundaes. (emiliaceramics.com)

A classy and playful option for tequila shots. (emiliaceramics.com)

39 A classy and playful option for tequila shots. (emiliaceramics.com)

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Iced Margarita

Paloma Cooler

Watermelon Basil Margarita

Mexican Rice Drinks

Classic Guacamole

Cinco de Mayo Fruit Cup

Tortilla Soup

Mexican Grilled Corn

Tequila-Soaked Fruit

Frozen Melon-Margarita Pops

Mexican Hot-Chocolate Cookies

Martha and Emeril Kick It Up A Notch

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Martha has formed invaluable relationships with so many incredible individuals and companies throughout the years.

In 2008, we welcomed one of the most creative and influential cooking personalities into the Martha Stewart Living family -- chef Emeril Lagasse.

I can honestly say that I have never met a man nicer than Emeril, and there is not a single one of my colleagues that doesn't agree with me. He is truly a kind man whose generosity and sense of caring knows no bounds.

Emeril nurtured a passion for food at a young age. Though a talented musician in high school, he took a different path and pursued culinary schooling at Johnson and Wales University, then in Paris where he was classically trained in French cuisine.

He continued his rise stateside, working in fine restaurants in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and New Orleans before opening his own restaurant in 1990.

Emeril has turned a childhood passion into a cooking empire. He owns 12 restaurants in five cities across the U.S., hosts syndicated television shows, and has a retail line of creole foods and cookware.

Martha Stewart Living now features Emeril's recipes, cookbooks, and you can even hear Emeril on Martha Stewart Living Radio.

I couldn't resist including some photos of the interiors of his beautiful restaurants, along with some of his eye-catching recipes.

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With his amazing food sense, Chef Emeril Lagasse is right at home in the Martha Stewart Living family.

1 With his amazing food sense, Chef Emeril Lagasse is right at home in the Martha Stewart Living family.

Emeril's New Orleans opened in 1990 as Lagasse's first restaurant. I particularly love the woven ceilings.

2 Emeril's New Orleans opened in 1990 as Lagasse's first restaurant. I particularly love the woven ceilings.

Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans. Rich, creamy leathers are a great choice for the bar area.

3 Emeril's Delmonico in New Orleans. Rich, creamy leathers are a great choice for the bar area.

Chef Spencer Minch of Emeril's Delmonico stands among beautiful aged meats and wines.

4 Chef Spencer Minch of Emeril's Delmonico stands among beautiful aged meats and wines.

Burgers and More by Emeril in Pennsylvania. A pop art mosaic of Emeril kicks up the impact of the dining area.

5 Burgers and More by Emeril in Pennsylvania. A pop art mosaic of Emeril kicks up the impact of the dining area.

The primary colors and open kitchen of Burgers and More create a casual and family friendly environment.

6 The primary colors and open kitchen of Burgers and More create a casual and family friendly environment.

Emeril's in Miami Beach. The vibrant interior match the restaurants bright and sunny surroundings.

7 Emeril's in Miami Beach. The vibrant interior match the restaurants bright and sunny surroundings.

Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas. The giant metal fish sculpture is quite the statement piece.

8 Emeril's New Orleans Fish House in Las Vegas. The giant metal fish sculpture is quite the statement piece.

The bar at Table 10. The blue pendant lamps set the bar apart from the warm tones in the dining area.

9 The bar at Table 10. The blue pendant lamps set the bar apart from the warm tones in the dining area.

The food bar at Table 10 in Las Vegas.

10 The food bar at Table 10 in Las Vegas.

Nola in New Orleans. This restaurant has a more rustic atmosphere.

11 Nola in New Orleans. This restaurant has a more rustic atmosphere.

Emeril's Tchoup Chop in Orlando. The water feature in the center of the restaurant is breathtaking.

12 Emeril's Tchoup Chop in Orlando. The water feature in the center of the restaurant is breathtaking.

A dining area at Tchoup Chop in Orlando. The exotic flare is stunning.

13 A dining area at Tchoup Chop in Orlando. The exotic flare is stunning.

20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast is available in the Martha Stewart online shop.

14 20-40-60 Fresh Food Fast is available in the Martha Stewart online shop.

Emeril at the Grill is also available in the Martha Stewart family of cookbooks.

15 Emeril at the Grill is also available in the Martha Stewart family of cookbooks.

Sometimes nothing is better than a classic steak. Speaking of..

16 Sometimes nothing is better than a classic steak. Speaking of..

Emeril recently launched a line of high-quality meats. Red Marble Steaks offers a wide selection of steaks perfect for summer grilling. (redmarblesteaks.com)

17 Emeril recently launched a line of high-quality meats. Red Marble Steaks offers a wide selection of steaks perfect for summer grilling. (redmarblesteaks.com)

I bet this cantaloupe, arugula, and prosciutto salad is just as delicious as it looks.

18 I bet this cantaloupe, arugula, and prosciutto salad is just as delicious as it looks.

Emeril's grilled vegetables are so vibrant in color and flavor.

19 Emeril's grilled vegetables are so vibrant in color and flavor.

Emeril makes a delicious combination of oysters and caviar.

20 Emeril makes a delicious combination of oysters and caviar.

These marinated and grilled shrimp look mouth-watering.

21 These marinated and grilled shrimp look mouth-watering.

Emeril and Martha make a great team.

22 Emeril and Martha make a great team.

Cantaloupe, Arugula, and Prosciutto

Eggplant and Peppers with Feta

Poached Oysters with Spinach Puree

Big T Bone Steaks with Chipotle Butter

Lemon-Herb Grilled Shrimp

Emeril is also featured cooking kid-friendly recipes with his son E.J.and daughter Meril in Everyday Food Magazine, and sometimes the duo make highly entertaining appearances on Martha's show....

Watch Emeril, son E.J., and Martha cook on Martha's show