Recetas for a Backyard Party

Warmer temperatures and longer days mean outdoor dining and entertaining can finally commence. This season, prepare Latino dishes that embrace your culture. “The food of a country plays a key role defining the personality of its people, and the other way around,” says Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, author of The Brazilian Kitchen and My Rio de Janeiro: A Cookbook. Here, Schwartz shares easy-to-make Brazilian recipes perfect for outdoor dining.

Main Dish: Sanduiche Natural de Galinha com Cenoura

A popular cuisine sold along the beaches of Rio de Janeiro

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4 sandwiches


3 tablespoons raisins (dark or golden)

2 medium carrots (132 g)

1 1/2 cups (200 g) thinly shredded chicken

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

8 slices whole wheat bread

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Plump the raisins by soaking in 1/2 cup warm water for five minutes.

2. Grate the carrots on the largest holes of the grater. You should have about 1 cup grated carrots; place in a bowl.

3. To make the shredded chicken, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chicken breasts, and boil for approximately 20 minutes. Make sure there is no pink. Hold the chicken in place with a fork, and using a second fork, pull at the chicken, causing the pieces to shred.

4. Drain the raisins and add to the bowl with the chicken, mayonnaise and chives. Season with salt and pepper and mix with a rubber spatula.

5. Divide the mixture among each slice of bread and sandwich them together.

Side Dish: Biscoito Palito de Polvilho (Yucca Sticks)

A great Latin alternative to French Fries

Cook time: 90 minutes

Servings: 25 to 30 sticks


1 1/2 cups sour manioc starch (povilho azedo)

1 cup water

1 tablespoon whole milk

1 teaspoon kosher salt, more for sprinkle

8 tablespoons (1 stick) 82 percent unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 egg

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh chopped rosemary

Zest of 1 orange

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, more for sprinkle

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil to brush


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. Place the manioc starch in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

3. In a small saucepan, bring the water, milk and salt to a boil.

4. Immediately pour the hot liquid over the manioc starch and turn the machine to a low speed. Beat it until the mixture looks like a coarse meal, about one minute.

5. Add the butter and beat until the dough is smooth, and the sides of the bowl are clean.

6. Add the egg, 1 tablespoon of the rosemary, orange zest, ground chipotle and two to three twists of freshly ground black pepper. Beat until the dough turns pale and creamy, about three to four minutes.

7. Stop the machine and scrape the dough into a resistant pastry bag fitted with a plain round tip, size number 3. (Alternatively, you can roll them by hand, on a surface lightly floured with manioc starch. Roll one piece at a time into a 6-inch long stick, then transfer to the baking sheet).

8. Pipe the yucca sticks into 6-inch lengths, leaving about 1/2 inch between each stick. It is important to pipe the sticks quite thin, as they expand during baking time (and they don’t look attractive when piped like a fat stick).

9. Lightly brush the sticks with olive oil and sprinkle some salt and rosemary. Lightly dust some chipotle powder over each stick.

10. Bake the sticks in the oven until they rise and turn slightly golden, about 25 to 35 minutes. Do not remove them from the oven; turn it off, open the door all the way, and leave them inside the oven, with the door open for another 30 minutes. Trust your senses: they will make some clicking noise almost sounding like ice crystals falling -- that’s normal. Only when they stop clicking, remove them from the oven.

11. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the sticks cool at room temperature before serving, about 10 minutes. Place them in a tall glass and serve.

Cocktail: Caipirinha

A refreshing cocktail using Brazil’s popular alcoholic ingredients

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Servings: 1 caipirinha


2 limes

1 tablespoon sugar

2 to 3 tablespoons cachaça (adjust amount to taste)

Ice cubes


1. Cut the two ends off of the lime and cut lime into medium chunk wedges.

2. Using a muddler, mash the lime with sugar, making sure to squeeze out all the juices and to dissolve the sugar in the juice.

3. Transfer the lime mixture to a shaker. Add the cachaça and ice cubes. Shake well (about eight to 10 times) and pour into a large (but not tall) sturdy glass.