“My Berlin Kitchen-Stunningly Complete” by Luisa Weiss

January15

In this second excerpt Luisa Weiss recounts what I have struggled to appropriately describe in the past; that moment when I have become overwhelmed with that utter bliss that comes after a well-prepared meal, surrounded by loved ones and often times in a beautiful setting. 

I am happy to report that my life has been made up of a string of these moments: on my many travel adventures, whilst on our precious Isla Mujeres,

a sunset walk on the beach at our summer house and indeed, even in my own backyard-lying in a hammock, or cuddled up around our fire pit or sitting under the blossoming plum tress that have been strung with white lights.  I think what I am trying to say is that Luisa Weiss “gets” me and I “get” her….

But pavlova felt too fussy for this languid afternoon.  I leaned back on the couch and closed my eyes, hearing the faint hum of the traffic from the outdoors and thinking about our day.  I remembered the buttermilk we’d shared, creamy and sour.  It occurred to me that buttermilk and berries would make the perfect summer dessert.  In my collection of clipped recipes from so long ago, I found the recipe I was looking for almost straightaway: buttermilk pannacotta.

The dessert consisted of not much more than buttermilk, heavy cream, and sugar, with a a little gelatin for suspension and wiggle.  To serve with the pannacotta, I decided to sugar red berries, letting a syrupy, ruby-red juice form.  Their sweet-sour pop would be a good contract to the nursery-dessert quality of the pannacotta.

The pannacotta was simple to make, but when the time came to unmold the set cream from its ceramic mold, I struggled to loosen it from the sides.  Max walked into the kitchen just as I was starting to lose my cool and ended up helping me, the two of us giggling at the pannacotta’s luxuriant wobble as it settled onto the serving plate.  Then I spooned the juicy berries and their syrup all around the pannacotta, almost obscuring the creamy mound.  As Max drove us to Muck and Jurgen’s house on a leafy street in Zehlendorf, I held the serving plate gingerly in my lap as the fruit syrup slid back and forth precariously.

Out on their deck at dusk, we ate pink-fleshed lake trout poached gently in fennel broth, small boiled potatoes, waxy and sunflower-yellow and dusted with chopped parsley, and a little salad of soft greens studded with toasted sunflower seeds.  There was a cold bottle of Riesling and a sharp and creamy horseradish sauce mixed with grated apple for a bit of sweetness to dollop on the fish, its flesh tender and barely warm.  Later, when the sky had grown dark and we sat outside in candlelight, full of fish and potatoes and wine, everybody oohed and aahed as I spooned out trembling portions of pannacottaand sweet-sour berries into little dishes that Muck had brought out.

As we ate, the buttermilk cutting the richness of the cream and the sugared berries a sharp contrast to the soothing blandness of the pannacotta, we listened to the neighbor’s children play in the garden next door.  The table soon fell quiet and as our spoons scraped against the china and I saw the light draining from the sky, my world suddenly felt so stunningly complete, so full and rich and just as it should be, that I almost lost my breath.

 Kath’s quote: “Life is not measured by the breaths you take but by its breathtaking monents.”-Michael Vance.

 

Love-that is all.


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