The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth & Other Aperitifs by Anistatia Renard Miller

  • Full Title : The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth & Other Aperitifs
  • Autor: Anistatia Renard Miller
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Jared Brown
  • Publication Date: July 14, 2011
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907434259
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907434259
  • Download File Format: epub


The Mixellany Guide to Vermouth & Other Aperitifs explores the remarkable history of aromatized wines and spirits as well as the secrets of their production. When vermouth landed on American shores, it gave birth to an entire family of drinks from the Martini and the Manhattan to the Adonis and the Metropole. In Britain, the dry and sweet versions led to the Blood & Sand and the Matador. But why did Winston Churchill allegedly bow toward France instead of using vermouth in a drink? Why have various eyedroppers and atomizers been marketed to administer minute amounts of this aromatized wine into American drinks on both sides of the Atlantic? In cafés throughout Italy and France you can tell the time by the orders for tumblers and goblets of vermouth on the rocks. Argentines and Chileans love vermouth so much their cocktail hour is sometimes called l’hora del vermut [the vermouth hour]. In some regions of Spain bodegas have barrels of vermouth to dole out for after-work aperitivos. Drinks historians and life-long vermouth lovers, Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller delve into the reasons why vermouths and other apéritifs have been so misunderstood and under-valued since the end of Prohibition in the United States and suggest why it is time to have a change of heart.




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se to explore in the kitchen. We were cultivating a ton of vegetables I’d never cooked with, so there were some disasters at first (and I’d be lying if I said those still don’t happen on occasion). But just as with farming, over time I learned new skills and got more comfortable. Taylor started to look forward to the nights I made meals, and I found myself feeling energized in the kitchen, even when I was beat after a long day of work.

I wanted to share my stories—and meals—with my family back in Oregon, so I started a blog, Dishing Up the Dirt , to document our new life as farmers.

Our family and friends were a huge support to us, and the blog became a great way to share this new life. I was happy to read a comment on a recipe from my mom or sister or see a note from my dad about how dirty and strong I looked in my farm coveralls holding a large crate of potatoes. They were proud of us and loved living vicariously through the blog.

But after a few seasons on Hutchins Farm, we grew hungry for the West Coast. Taylor loves to ski, and I was yearning to be closer to my family. We both wanted to have our very own farming operation but on a much smaller scale than Hutchins. With three years of farming under our belts, we packed up our truck with a few essential possessions, all of my kitchen gadgets, and our rescue dog, Henry. And we were off.

If we thought Hutchins was hard work, we were greatly mistaken. Creating Tumbleweed Farm from the ground up (literally) was the most challenging undertaking of our lives. Gone was the luxury of expensive farm equipment like tractors; every single chore had to be done by hand. We quickly learned the true meaning of “working the land.” Through all of this, I continued to find respite in the kitchen, cooking daily and sharing the recipes on my blog—which, suddenly, had begun to attract a readership that extended beyond my parents. It was just the motivation I needed to keep going.

Like my blog, this book is intended to offer an honest glimpse into life on our six-acre farm in rural Oregon. It’s a story about love, community, farming, and, most important, the food that we grow, eat, and share around the table with family and friends.

The recipes are organized by season. My cooking is deeply rooted in fresh and local ingredients, and I hope that if you take anything away from this book, it’s an appreciation of the ingredients you bring into your kitchen. You don’t have to be a farmer to know that foods at the peak of freshness simply taste better.

You’ll also notice I tend not to categorize foods by meal or time of day. If my body is craving oatmeal and berries for dinner or a veggie pizza for breakfast, so be it. When we’re too rigid about food, cooking and eating aren’t quite as much fun.

I also welcome detours. Even when following a recipe, I tend to cook with a splash of “this” and a touch of “that,” and I encourage you to do the same. Also keep in mind that every kitchen is different, and ingredients and cooking times will likewise vary. The vast majority of these recipes grew from my early explorations in the kitchen, though, so they’re simple enough for even beginner cooks to follow (but delicious enough to serve your most discerning dinner guests). Sure, there will be trial and error along the way, and when you play a round of dominos or backgammon to see who’s doing the dishes—like Taylor and I do each night—there is only one winner. But despite all of the hard work that goes into making a meal, cooking and eating are really about one thing: love.

I invite you to embrace the whole experience, finding your own ways to make it enjoyable from start to finish. Blast some music while you chop onions. Try out a new recipe or cooking technique once a week. Heck, you may even be inspired to grow your own herbs on your windowsill or, better yet, plant a few vegetables in your backyard. Whatever works for you. But whether you’re growing your own food or simply preparing a meal for good friends, adding a little love and laughter will make it all taste better.

Dishing Up the Dirt

An Ode to Sauce

Sauces are the gateway to eating more vegetables. When we were working at Hutchins Farm, I quickly found that the best way to experiment with new (to us) vegetables was to pair them with a tasty sauce. Whether you dip, drizzle, or toss your veggies, a good sauce improves any veg dish a few notches.

As you’ll see in the pages to come, I use sauces in a lot of my cooking. The sauces that follow are my go-tos; they’re simple, versatile, and flavorful. Dinner can be whipped up in a flash with a few roasted veggies, a grain, and one of the many sauces/dressings in the pages that follow. All of these sauces will keep for three to five days refrigerated in an airtight container. Some of these sauces will thicken in the fridge, so feel free to thin them out with a little water if need be.

Dijon Tahini Dressing


This dressing isn’t just for salads—it can also be tossed into hot pasta, used as a dip, or drizzled on grain bowls.

¼ cup tahini

1 clove of garlic, minced

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together all the ingredients with ¼ cup water—or use an immersion blender. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more water to thin if necessary.

Garlic Cashew Herb Sauce


Taylor calls this “hippie ranch dressing,” and it really does have a ranch flavor. It’s absolutely spoonworthy and tastes great served with roasted vegetables or meat dishes, as a condiment for fries, or spread on a sandwich in place of mayo.

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

2½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2½ tablespoons minced dill

2½ tablespoons minced parsley

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Drain the soaked cashews and rinse them under cold water. Place the drained cashews with ½ cup water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, dill, and parsley into a high-speed blender (see note). Whirl away on high until smooth and creamy; this will take about 2 minutes, so be patient! Scrape down the sides and add extra water, a little at a time, until you reach a smooth and creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more water to thin if necessary.

A powerful blender, such as a Vitamix, is essential for getting the smoothest consistency.

Basic Tahini Sauce


I’ve been known to travel with this sauce in my bag. When we work our farmers’ market booth and hunger strikes, I usually grab a bunch of veggies and dip away. And while I prefer this eaten with veggies, Taylor likes it drizzled over roasted chicken. The truth is, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this simple sauce.

1 clove of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon honey

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, honey, oil, and a pinch each of salt and pepper with 2 tablespoons water, until smooth and creamy. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed. Add more water to thin if necessary.

Smoky Cashew Sauce


Smoked paprika gives this sauce an extra depth of flavor. Drizzle it onto nachos or use it as a dip for burritos or quesadillas. Try it smeared on a turkey sandwich or, my favorite, served with Rutabaga Home Fries .

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on spice preference)

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Drain the cashews and place them in a high-speed blender along with the rest of the ingredients and 1 cup water (see note). Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides as necessary and taste as you go. Add more water to thin if necessary.

A powerful blender, such as a Vitamix, is essential for getting the smoothest consistency.

Romesco Sauce


Romesco sauce originated in northern Spain, where it was traditionally served with a variety of seafood dishes. We like serving it with all kinds of grilled meats and raw or cooked vegetables, especially our favorite Grilled Scallions . You can also top your morning toast and eggs with a few spoonfuls. In a pinch, toss it into hot pasta for a tasty, no-fuss dinner.

1 large red bell pepper, or 1 cup drained roasted red pepper from a jar

1 clove of garlic, smashed

½ cup almonds

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional to thin if necessary

fine sea salt

If you’re using the fresh bell pepper, generously oil the grate of an outdoor grill and preheat it to high. Place the pepper directly on the grate and roast, turning it occasionally, until the skin is blackened on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pepper from the heat, place it in a bowl, and cover it with aluminum foil or a kitchen towel. Allow the pepper to steam for about 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and seeds.

Place the garlic and almonds in a food processor and pulse until they’re coarsely chopped. Add the roasted pepper, tomato paste, vinegar, paprika, olive oil, and salt. Process until smooth. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.

Miso Harissa Sauce


I love miso and I love harissa, so it was only a matter of time before I combined two of my favorite condiments. You can jazz up any roasted vegetable dish with this sweet, spicy sauce.

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup white miso

1 tablespoon harissa paste

2 teaspoons honey

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, unseasoned

Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl until smooth and creamy. This works great with an immersion blender or small food processor. Taste test and adjust seasonings as needed.

Tumbleweed Farm Basic Pesto


Every summer I dedicate a weekend to preserving food with two of my best girlfriends, who just happen to live right up the road from Tumbleweed Farm. We make large batches of pesto to freeze for the year, and this simple recipe is our absolute favorite. Use this pesto on everything from pasta to pizza to roasted veggies and even toast.

6 cups gently packed basil

½ cup walnuts

2 cloves of garlic

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, nuts, garlic, and salt. Process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the lemon juice and oil until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

You can freeze the pesto in mason jars or freezer bags for up to 1 year.

Herbed Tahini Sauce


This versatile sauce tastes great served with pretty much anything. Sometimes I like to keep it on the thicker side by adding less water so it can be served as a dip for crackers or raw veggies. However, when taco night comes rolling around, I like to achieve a smooth and pourable sauce by adding more liquid.

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 scallion, minced (white and light green parts only)

¼ cup tahini

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon honey

¼ cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped

¼ cup loosely packed dill, finely chopped

¼ cup loosely packed parsley, finely chopped

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients with ⅓ cup water in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Add more water 1 tablespoon at a time to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste-test and adjust seasonings as needed.


I fear deer, gophers, and hailstorms more than I fear God himself.

In early spring, Taylor and I are on high alert. There’s a constant sense of urgency around the farm, and a lot to be done. April is particularly hectic, and the unpredictable weather in the Pacific Northwest can also make it scary: below freezing some nights, low 70s in the afternoons, with high winds and a lot of rain to fill in the gaps. It’s hard to dress for a day at the farm in April, and each afternoon requires multiple wardrobe changes. We work through the erratic conditions and rarely take a moment to breathe in between chores. By day’s end, our sore bodies are covered head to toe in wet, thick mud. Each night we climb into our bed exhausted.

Still, we never rest well in the spring.

The propagation house—the greenhouse-style nursery where we start most of our plants from seed—has been almost completely full with the first of our spring seedlings since the end of March. Onions, leeks, scallions, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage take up most of the space. But because the temperature drops after dark, one of us usually needs to set an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night, grab a headlamp, go out to the greenhouse to check the temperature, and while we’re out there, scan the fields for hungry wildlife. It’s like we’re new parents—only our main concern is making sure that our tender seedlings aren’t exposed to the bitter air. It’s on these nights, as I walk out into the cold pitch-black, that I wonder why we chose farming as a livelihood.

The late-spring frost also poses a threat to our newly transplanted lettuces, so on particularly chilly evenings, we’ll trek out to the fields with shovels and giant bundles of floating row covers, which we gently lay on top of the plants to provide an additional layer of protection. This job can be a real pain and is one that I, in particular, detest. If you have ever wondered why farmers are a little edgy in the spring, you can usually blame the weather.

The cold isn’t all Mother Nature has in store for us come spring. If gophers decide to dig through our beds under the cover of darkness, they can decimate a 200-foot-long bed of baby broccoli plants by sunrise. Deer have a tendency to gather in the fields in late evenings and early mornings, making a buffet of many of our plants and often trampling the rest. The main solution is a proper deer fence, which hasn’t yet been in our budget, so when things get bad, we resort to camping out in the fields with Henry. It can be cold and damp, but for the time being, the best (and cheapest) option is patrolling the fields ourselves.

Each morning, regardless of how many hours I’ve slept, I close my eyes while taking my first sip of strong black coffee and say a quiet thank-you to our buddy Ben. Ben owns a coffee shop in town that does small-batch roasting, and we are smitten with his beans. We trade a dozen eggs each week for a bag of freshly roasted beans, and this magical relationship—between us and Ben, his coffee roaster, and our chickens—is pure bliss. When we sit down to a farm-fresh breakfast accompanied by giant mugs of piping-hot coffee, I can feel a fire ignite inside of me. That first sip reassures me that it’s a new day, a clean slate, and anything is possible. If farming has taught me anything, it’s to embrace the unpredictable with a sense of optimism. It’s a difficult way to make a living, and we sometimes feel crazy for choosing Mother Nature as our boss. But as we sit in our quiet farm kitchen, sipping our morning brew and sharing a simple meal, we feel pretty darn okay.

One of the highlights of spring at Tumbleweed Farm is the arrival of a new batch of baby chicks. Chickens provide nutrient-rich compost for our soil, but mainly, we can’t get enough of their eggs. And I can’t get enough of the chicks. I’m giddy with excitement when I get the annual phone call from the post office alerting us that our chickens have arrived. (Yes, you can mail-order chicks. They are overnighted to us the day after they’ve hatched.) Taylor and I hop into the truck and jet over as quickly as possible. Once we get back to the farm, we gently move the chicks from their traveler box to their brooder, which is equipped with heat lamps, wood chips, food, and water. Holding a baby chick in my hands and feeling its body’s warmth, soft feathers, and quick heartbeat is one of my favorite springtime joys.

While I’m tending to these little bundles of life, I can’t help but think about all the eggs, compost, and coffee that they’ll soon contribute to our lives. They also bring a sense of joy and life to the farm after a long winter. The sound of their chirps is the perfect background music for chores—everything feels a bit cozier with the arrival of our new girls. We let the chicks grow for a few weeks in their brooder before moving them to a temporary coop out in the field. It’ll be a few months before we integrate them with the older gals, which is another late-night chore—since chickens can be cruel to newcomers, we’ve found that moving them when everyone is sleeping is best. When it gets dark, Taylor and I head out to the field and move each chicken, one by one, to her new home. Not only is it easier to move a sleeping chicken (no running and trying to catch them!), but everyone wakes up the next morning as if nothing has changed. Sure there may be some pecking and a few adjustments, but there’s never an all-out feathers-flying brawl.

All of my early romantic visions of what farm life would be like become laughable by the peak of spring. I used to think farmers were slow and meticulous about planting, taking special care to nurture the young transplants they placed in the ground. But the truth is, spring is a crazy race, and it feels like we’re constantly falling behind. I still remember my farm manager at Hutchins barking at me, on my first afternoon, to “hurry the hell up!” I quickly learned that planting was not a slow, therapeutic experience—it was a goddamn sprint! If you saw how quickly we shoved plants into the earth, you’d think we were abusing them. Time is money, and there are only so many hours of daylight. Nowadays we can hand-plant five hundred heads of lettuce in less than thirty minutes. We’ll follow those up with fifteen hundred kale and cabbage plants, and still have time to hand-fertilize and water them before lunch.

Taylor and I typically break for lunch around noon and catch each other up on the status of the chores we’ve been tackling individually. While we do many tasks side by side, we also divide and conquer when necessary, and it’s never more necessary than in the spring. I’m in charge of all the greenhouse seeding, and Taylor is in charge of all mechanical work. We hand-plant every single crop on the farm (thousands and thousands of plants) and use a walk-behind seeder for direct seeding with certain crops. We err on the side of overproduction because we want to guarantee that we have enough food for our CSA members, farmers’ market customers, and restaurant accounts all season long. If we make a mistake in the spring, we’ll pay for it in the summer, so we’re always planting with caution.

Taylor and I talk about the weather more than anything else. The weather dictates what our days will look like and how we will tackle our chores. The weather is the first thing we check in the morning and the last thing we check before bed each night. We check it multiple times throughout the day, too, because for some reason, we feel like if we look often enough, we m


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