Up until last summer, the only marathons I was interested in were of the TV variety. That all changed when we booked a Mount Kilimanjaro climb for last fall and started reading firsthand accounts of the experience online. Would our camembert-encased hearts make it to the top?
Fearing no, we registered for a semi-marathon in Bordeaux (with a cheque in the mail naturellement) and began pounding the Paris pavement in earnest. The Friday night before our Sunday race, as we were packing our bags for an early-morning bus ride to the sleepy town of Le Porge, our iPhones buzzed with the news that the local prefecture had closed the race course due to a heightened risk of forest fire. We made the trip anyway—but instead of sweating it out on the local trails in 35+ degree heat, we spent the weekend sunning it up and eating mascottes on the beach.
A few months later, in October 2012, we did indeed reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, but it still kind of irked me that all that half-marathon training hadn’t ended in a half-marathon. So, back when Canada was still an ocean away and August 2013 a lifetime in the future, a friend and I agreed to sign up for the SeaWheeze Half-Marathon in Vancouver. There’s a very good chance I had a pain au chocolat in one hand (and a glass of wine in the queue) as I tapped out an enthusiastic “Let’s do it!”
My running partner, who lives in Seattle sadly, recently referred to our half-marathon training as a part-time job. It definitely feels that way sometimes. If I’m not running, then I’ve just come from running, I’m about to go running or I’m procrastinating about running. A former accountant-in-training and admitted number nerd, I diligently track my distances and times in a tidy spreadsheet—colour coded of course. That’s how I can say, with great confidence, that I deserve every last scoop of strawberry ice cream I’ve consumed.
- 350 g of strawberries, hulled and cut into 1.25 cm (10.5") slices
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp cream cheese, softened
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1¼ cups whipping cream
- ⅔ cup sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
- In a square baking dish, lightly toss the sliced strawberries with ⅓ cup of sugar. Roast for 8 minutes or until the berries are soft.
- Puree the roasted berries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor, then set the mixture aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water. Set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup. Boil over medium-high heat for 4 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
- Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.
- Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.
- Add the strawberry puree (I used 1 cup and saved the rest for drizzling on top) and buttermilk, and blend well.
- Pour the mixture into a 4 L (1 gallon) freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as needed, until the mixture is completely chilled (about 30 minutes).
- Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions. Scoop the ice cream into an airtight storage container and freeze until firm (at least 4 hours).
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer 10 minutes before serving to soften it slightly.