I’m a big fan of Rachel Ray, and when she had the show where she talked about acai berry, I got very excited. The only thing I thought was missing was more acai berry recipes from Rachael Ray. So I thought that I might do some experimenting of my own and come up with a few new recipes. I’m not a professional chef or anything, but I do have fairly good luck with modifying existing recipes and having pretty good results.
First I wanted to make a marinade for chicken that I would then bar-b-que. I have a great citrus (lime, orange and sour orange) and white pepper marinade that I learned when I stayed in Nicaragua for a while. Another variation of that is my own lime juice, soy, and Bragg recipe. So I thought that instead of the citrus, I might be able to use acai to add a different flavor.
I cut the chicken breast into strips and pour acai juice and some extra virgin cold pressed olive oil over the pieces. In an effort to cut the sweetness, I added some sea salt and crushed capers. The result was interesting and got fairly good reviews. I didn’t like it as much as my stand by marinades so I won’t be likely to repeat this recipe. Also I ended up tossing much of the acai goodness down the drain which entirely defeats the health benefits of acai berry juice. Additionally, acai is more expensive than lime juice or orange juice so it was a slightly expensive experiment.
So my second recipe that I came up with actually turned out a lot better. It maintains all the health benefits of acai as well, so that is good. Start with a container of plain yogurt. You can use low fat if you want to reduce the calorie and fat levels of this dish. Add one cup of some sort of acai drink – either juice or a pre-mixed smoothie, and mix well. Then take this and put it in a strainer with 2 layers of cheese cloth and set it over a dish to drain. Let this sit in the fridge for 24 hours to allow all the liquid to drain off.
Once the yogurt has drained, I just peel/scrape the mixture off of the cheesecloth into a Tupperware and then into the freezer. After about 8 hours I have a wonderful frozen yogurt desert, that is not too sweet, and has all the acai berry nutrition benefits. If you like your frozen yogurt harder or softer you can adjust the time you leave it in the freezer to change the consistency.
Finally I tried my own version of the classic fruit recipe – the smoothie. For my version I added the following to a blender: 3 ice cubes, 1 frozen banana, 1/2 cup low fat yogurt, and 1/2 cup acai berry juice. Blend this on high until the ice has been blended and the whole thing is smooth. Freezing the banana beforehand ( I cut it in chunks before I freeze it) makes this drink extra thick and creamy. If you want to add some additional healthy ingredients, add some wheat germ or flax meal. Both add some fiber and a nice nutty flavor.
With a little imagination acai can be incorporated into many different recipes. Without much thought I was able to create a main course, desert and a smoothie. Although Rachel Ray acai berry recipes do not seem to currently exist I will continue looking and in the meantime I will be creating and writing about my own recipes.