Monday, June 29, 2009

Acai Berry Recipes

By Jane A Moore

It's difficult to find acai berry recipes. I'm a big fan of Rachel Ray, and she recently featured the acai berry on one of her shows, so I thought for sure that I could find some Rachel Ray acai berry recipes online. But after a few days of searching, I decided that I should just start inventing some of my own.

The first thing I tried was an acai berry juice marinade on chicken breast. This is just a variation of an orange juice and white pepper marinade I picked up in Nicaragua or the lime juice and soy marinade I had been using for years. I should note that I always marinade for at least six hours as any less time doesn't do much for me.

I start by halving the chicken breasts because I find that being able to cook smaller pieces for less time on the barbeque decreases the chance that I will overcook or dry out the meat. Add all the chicken to a glass bowl, and add cold pressed olive oil, some ground sea salt, ground white pepper, minced garlic, acai berry juice, and lime juice as the citrus flavor. I thought the sour lime would balance the sweetness of the acai berry juice. As it turns out, the chicken turned out quite well, but not quite as good as by normal marinade. I also doubted that very much of the acai goodness made it into the chicken, as most of the sauce is burned off or dripped in the bar-b-q any way.

So my next recipe was a variation on another favorite of mine, and I hoped it would turn out better than the chicken experiment. In fact it did meet with very positive reviews. This is my own version of acai berry frozen yogurt. Mix acai berry juice with a non-flavored low fat yogurt. Then set a strainer and cheese cloth in a bowl, pour through the yogurt, put it in the fridge and let it drain through the yogurt for a day. Once the yogurt has drained, you are left with a cream cheese like mixture, which in fact is quite good as a spread or dip at this point.

I continued with the frozen yogurt recipe and peeled the creamy acai berry yogurt from the cheesecloth into a plastic container. Whip the yogurt with a whisk for several minutes to lighten it up, and then throw it in the freezer. After 8 hours it should be frozen enough to try. I just loved this recipe! It was a perfect mixture of the acai berry juice and frozen yogurt so that it wasn't overly sweet like ice cream would be. I think a good variation would be to put the yogurt mixture into Popsicle cups so you have individual servings ready to eat on the go.

Last but not least, I wanted to make a recipe for the tried and true fruit smoothie, except make it an acai berry special. In a blender add ice, a frozen banana (this makes the smoothy extra creamy by allowing you to add less ice), some plain yogurt, and 3/4 cup of acai juice. If you want to make a great all around breakfast smoothie, add some wheat germ to get a bit of extra fibre and protein.

So my first attempt at acai berry inspired recipes turned out not so bad. I'm happy with two out of three successful recipes for my first attempt. Granted, my acai berry inventions are not nearly as delicious as what I imagine an acai berry recipe from Rachel Ray. I'll keep trying though and perhaps I will eventually come up with some amazing recipes to use this amazing super food in.

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