Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lake Wine&Spirits Best Cheese Shop For 2013

Our friends at Lake Wine and Spirits (404 West lake Street, 612-354-7194) are way tickled that City Pages has chosen them Best Cheese Shop for 2013. CP said they have a "friendly, helpful staff," and an "unpretentious corner-market vibe."

"A fairly recent (and sorely needed) addition to Minneapolis's Whittier neighborhood, Lake Wine and Spirits is your one-stop shop for a Friday night party run or an evening in with a block of cheese, a baguette, and two bottles of wine."

We'd like to think that we had something to do with CP's choice, so pick up some Smokies, Sweeties, Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies while you're getting the cheese, baguette, and vino.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Recipe, 3 Weekend Demos

We'll be at three stores this weekend, introducing Barsy's Almonds to new friends.

Friday, 11-1, we'll be at both Mississippi Markets in St. Paul, 1500 7th Street West, and 622 Selby (Selby at Dale).

Saturday, 12-3, we'll be at the Edina Whole Foods, 7401 France Avenue South. It's Local Vendor Day, and we'll be helping the Edina WF celebrate its First Anniversary.

Here's a recipe for Barsy's Almond Berries. Thanks again to Jeanette and Christopher for this tasty treat.

1 pint Strawberries (I know we're rushing the season, but I'm tired of winter!)

1/2 pint blueberries

1/2 cup of your favorite Barsy's Almonds (Call me conservative, but I'm going with Sweeties. Don't let me stop you from getting a little daring, though, with -- say -- Hotties.)

1 cup amaretto liquer

Mix berries together in a bowl. Pour amaretto over the berries and toss well. Cover and chill. Sprinkle almonds on top before serving.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Creation of Barsy's Almonds

Maybe it would be a good idea to talk about what we're talking about here.

The Barsy's website,, says this about Barbara and Jason:

            Tired of working in an office for someone else,
            they were determined to start a business of their
            own. But what kind of business?

They had been the creative team for a business-to-business mail order company which its founder had bootstrapped from himself, an accountant, and a shipping-receiving guy to a thirty-some-employee, eight-digit concern. In failing health, and not up to the challenges presented by the Internet, the founder sold his brainchild to a company full of bean counters that buys going concerns from people who know what they're doing. It was the turn of the millennium.

The two hung in there for a few years. In 2008, they took a recipe of Barbara's -- Smokies -- to Minneapolis' Midtown Farmers' Market. Smokies were a hit!

What are Smokies? Here's what the website -- -- says:

         Sometimes called our “regular almonds”, these are
         the first almonds we sold and they’re still
         our most popular. They feature a deep hickory flavor
         that’s been called “vegan bacon”. The delightful
         crust is nutritional yeast, believe it or not.
         Wonderful with beer!

That "delightful crust" gives Smokies the savory, umami flavor that rockets Smokies to the next level of sensation. (Umami is a Japanese word for one of five basic flavors, along with sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. It's the one they didn't teach me in fifth grade science.)

At the Midtown Farmers' Market Barbara and Jason realized they might be able to fulfill their dream of freedom and self reliance.

Customers suggested a cinnamon almond. Always alert for the surprising, subtle twist, Barbara and Jason covered almonds with the spices of chai lattes, and invented Sweeties. (Barbara has always made a fabulous cup of tea!)

They also created Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies. A very bright niece suggested a maple-flavored almond, named Sappies, but so far the motif seems to be names that only just get by the censor.

More on Barsy's flavors later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Green Beans Amandine Recipe

Here's Jeannette's and Christopher's recipe for Green Beans with Barsy's Almonds.

1    Pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1    Tablespoon olive oil

1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 Cup of your favorite Barsy's Almonds

Heat oven to 375. Toss green beans in a baking pan with olive oil and salt. Bake 30 minutes. Stir in almonds.

I remember having something like this at my grandmother's house on Sundays. The grownups called them "Beans Amandine," and I wondered what "amandine' meant. Now I bake amandes. Around here, we call this "hot dish."

This will serve 4-6. The entire dish will have about 485 calories, 8 grams of protein, 47 grams of carbohydrate, 21 grams fiber, 20 grams of fat (the good kind), and pretty good vitamin A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

I think I'll make this with Hotties to spice up the evening.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Biscotti Recipe & Luck, Wisconsin

Saturday Barbara will be at the Natural Alternative Food Co-op in Luck, Wisconsin (241 South Main Street, 715-472-6544). It's Customer Appreciation Day. Drop by to say hi, and sample some Smokies, Sweeties, Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies.

Take home some Naughties (or any other flavor) and try baking some of Christopher and Jeanette's Barsy's Almond Biscotti.

3 eggs

Grated peel of 2 oranges

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup of your favorite Barsy's Almonds

Heat oven to 300. Whisk egs, orange peel, vanilla and almond extract. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt, and add egg mixture, mixing until just blended. Stir in almonds.

Divide dough in half and form each half into a log measuring 12 by 1 1/2 inches and 1/2 inch thick. Bake on a prachment-lined baking sheet 50 minutes, until golden. Cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes.

Reduce oven heat to 275. Slice biscotti 1/2 inch thick on a cutting board with a serated knife. Lay slices flat on baking sheets and bake 20 minutes until dry and lightly toasted, turning once. Cool on a cooling rack.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Almond Taxonomy: Or How Dogs Are Closer To Cats Than Almonds Are To Walnuts

We're putting on our Mr. Wizard hats today, and doing a little science.

Cats and dogs are closer to each other than almonds are to walnuts. Pretentious people everywhere call cats Felis catus (it's really not a Monty Python joke!). Cats are of the family Felidae and the order Carnivora. Dogs, Canis lupus familiaris, are of the family Canidae, and same order as cats, Carnivora.

Got that? Carnivora, at the "order" level, is the umbrella that dogs and cats share. Cute picture.

Almonds, Prunus amygdalus, are from the Rosaceae family and the Rosales order. Walnuts, Juglans regia, are of the Juglandaceae family and the Fagales order. So we have to go up one more level than dogs and cats to the Rosid clade to get an umbrella over both almonds and walnuts.

Well, that and a quarter will get you over the bridge at Keokuk.

Almonds are more closely related to peaches and other stone fruits. Notice the word "prune" hidden in their Latin name. An almond -- called a "drupe" -- is a seed, inside the fruit of an almond tree.

The fruit's flesh, we have read, is tough and fuzzy, and, looking at pictures, about as thick as an almond. That doesn't sound appetizing, and we've been to a lot of lavishly stocked grocery stores and never seen almond fruit.

But inside that leathery hide, crack open the stone, and there's a tasty, nutritious kernel of goodness. And Barsy's Almonds seasons and bakes ten tons of them -- and growing --  each year for you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Recipe For Almond Pesto

Cook with almonds. Cook with Barsy's Almonds!

Friends Jeanette and Christopher gave us sixty recipes using Barsy's. Christopher is a chef, and has entertained us with some surprising, and very good vittles. Like his raspberry-thyme sherbet. Really good! We froze a bunch of spinach from last year's garden, and have been eating from that layer in the freezer lately, so here's Chris and Jeanette's recipe for Barsy's Spinach Almond Pesto.

1/2 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup your favorite Barsy's Almonds
1 package or 10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed almost dry
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture is the consitency you prefer.

We used Smokies, and -- confession -- used a full cup, skipping the pine nuts. It occurs to us that the daring might think a Hotties pesto mighty good.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Smoked Almond Salad Recipe

Barsy's Smokies have a rich, smoked, bacony flavor. But, like all of Barsy's Almonds, we make Smokies with no animal products or added fat.

Here's a salad that we've adapted to use Smokies. Barbara and husband, Tom, enjoyed the original in a St. Louis vegetarian restaurant thirty years ago. The chef there used sunflower seeds that had been roasted with soy sauce.

For each salad grate one medium carrot, and toss with a handful of raisins. Put a half cup of uncooked bean sprouts in the center of a salad bowl, and make a ring around it with the raisin-grated carrot mixture. Garnish with a quarter cup of chopped smokies, and dress with vineagar and oil, or your favorite dressing.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Almonds Are Good Food

We talk to a lot almond eaters. We meet them when we demo Barsy's Almonds, passing out samples, in the fifty-or-so Minnesota stores that carry them. We also demo frequently in Iowa, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, with occasional trips to Illinois, and plans for Michigan and East Coast tours.

Some of the folks we meet are kind enough to ask us the leading question, "Almonds are really good for you, aren't they?"

With a disclaimer for people who are allergic to nuts, yes, almonds are really good for you.

Almonds are a good source of protein, fiber, and energy. They're also full of B vitamins, Vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.

The oil in almonds is useful in reducing LDL, the "bad cholesterol," and Harvard's Nurse's Health Study found that women who ate five ounces or more of nuts a week had significantly less heart disease. The Sixth Edition of the Nutrition Almanac says that "Patients with Parkinson's disease have been found to have a lack of nuts in the diet, prior to contracting the disease."

Almonds taste good, too, and Barsy's Almonds are a treat that's real food.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sample Barsy's Almonds In St. Peter, MN Saturday

Come to the St. Peter Food Co-op on Saturday. Barsy's Almonds will be the featured vendor, with Barbara passing out samples between 11:00 and 2:00

St. Peter is one of our favorite places, on US 169, and the Minnesota River, about an hour west of the Twin Cities. It's a small farming and college town that supports the co-op. Mortar boards mingle with feed caps at the co-op. It's a full-line grocery store, run by people who love and understand food, with plenty of bulk foods and a great deli with great coffee.

And the co-op carries all five Barsy's flavors: Smokies, Sweeties, Naughties, Hotties, and Stuffies.

That makes it a great place to fill in any gaps in your Barsy's education.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Barsy's Healthy Treats At Mississippi Market

Jason and Barbara met a lot of nice people and turned them onto Barsy's Almonds Saturday. St. Paul's Mississippi Markets were getting ready for the Super Bowl, and Jason was at the Selby Avenue, and Barbara was at 7th Street.

The Selby Mississippi Market is at 622 Selby Avenue in St. Paul, at the intersection with Dale. The 7th Street Market is at 1500 West 7th Street. Both Markets are large and airy, with everything you expect from a supermarket, but more and better.

The Mississippi Market website describes the stores as "St. Paul's premier source for local & organic produce, sustainably raised meats, health and wellness products, and delicious healthful food.

"...we're consumer owned and controlled and have been since we opened in 1979."

Here's a link to the Mississippi Market website: