Just as the conversation among family and friends these past couple weeks has become broken-recordish about the flood predictions (the news says it’s coming tomorrow…no, tomorrow…no, tomorrow), I can again say that we are safe and still dry. Despite another round of reports earlier in the week that water would be creeping into all parts of the city by today, the inner city remains calm and free of floodwaters. Not only does it remain calm, but we continue to receive reminders that life is happening in spite of it all. We received the wonderful news that our friends had a baby boy today – welcome to the world, Sam! This little guy will have quite a story about the condition of the city into which he made his October entrance.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Frank and I made many grocery store runs. We wrapped up everything we could at our respective offices due to the fact that holidays were declared for most of the country on October 28, 29, and 31. We are two days in to what has already been declared at least a five-day weekend. I was quickly declared non-essential and made my way home Wednesday night, but F has real responsibilities and has been using our apartment as Mission Control as the floodwaters creep towards his office.
For the most part, I have been impressed at how calm things have been despite the foreboding predictions. On Wednesday and Thursday traffic throughout Bangkok was crawling but orderly as people left the city for the newly-declared long weekend. At the same time, plenty of people have decided to stick around. My sense is that many people who decided to stay have been through this before and are prepared. On Wednesday as I carried home my weight in canned goods, I noticed that there was not a single other person on the BTS carrying groceries. I can only hope that this means that people already have what they need. F and I have noticed people hoarding bottled water for weeks – long before it was certain that the crisis was coming our way.
Today, with our pantry and refrigerator full to overflowing, no office to spend my day in, and no particular place to go, I finally relaxed. And spent the afternoon by the pool. As you can see, we are doing just fine.
Blueberry Lemon Frozen Yogurt
- 1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 and 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- Zest from 1 lemon (reserved from below)
for the blueberry sauce:
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries
- 3/4 cup sugar
for the lemon syrup:
- 2 to 3 lemons
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- hours in advance – strain the yogurt. Fit a sieve over a bowl and line it with two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the sieve, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours to drain. Discard the liquid, and measure out 1 1/4 cups of the drained yogurt; set aside.
- Make the blueberry sauce. Mix the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries are tender and the sauce is thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then refrigerate until cold before using.
- Make the lemon syrup. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 1 lemon; reserve for the frozen yogurt (leave the lemon zest in large strips so it's easier to strain out later). Juice enough of the lemons to make 1/2 cup. Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Mix the yogurt base. Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Cook the ingredients. Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and lemon zest in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
- Combine and chill the ingredients. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the reserved 11/4 cups yogurt and the lemon syrup and whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- Combine the lemon yogurt with blueberry sauce. Remove the zest from the frozen yogurt base. Pour into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the frozen yogurt into a storage container, alternating yogurt with layers of the chilled blueberry sauce. End with a spoonful of sauce; do not mix. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.