Strawberry, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Panini

Strawberry, Goat Cheese. & Arugula Panini from www.BlueCrabMartini.com
Roll up your sleeves and grab a basket because strawberry pickin’ season is here at last! This weekend, the boys and I joined friends at Lockbriar Farms’ strawberry patch on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland. There were rows, upon rows, of sweet, ruby red, ripe berries just waiting to be picked. We spent the whole morning strolling through the patch, hunting for the biggest and sweetest berries we could find.

The kids, four of them in all, probably ate their weight in strawberries! Each of their cute little faces were covered in sweet berry juice by mid morning. Fortunately, we were able to keep a few of the strawberries in our baskets to bring home- although, I admit that a handful of them were devoured along the way! This was the first time my littlest guy (he’ll be 2 next month) has been on a strawberry picking adventure. I wasn’t sure how he would take to it, but he joined right in, picking berries and sampling them along the way. All of the kids had a blast and it was great to see them outdoors, soaking up the sun, and enjoying life on the farm. Childhood, at its very best! Strawberry picking in Maryland www.BlueCrabMartini.com Although you can buy them year round in the grocery store, strawberries are so much better when they are picked fresh from your local farm. Of course all fruits and veggies are best when they are in season, strawberries are especially sweet and juicy after soaking up the early summer sunshine. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that the berries grown in the Mid-Atlantic region have an extra burst of sun-ripened sweetness.

This was the first of our strawberry picking adventures this year, but hopefully there are many more to come. Spending the day on the farm was so much fun and we all left with smiles (and berry juice) on our faces. The strawberries we picked were sweet, but the memories made with our great friends were even sweeter! Strawberry picking in Maryland www.BlueCrabMartini.com See all of those berries in the picture above? They only cost me $6.50! At the grocery store they would be at least double that amount. Yet another reason why farm fresh local produce is the best!

Speaking of the picture above, this was the best shot we could get of these two little rascals. It took about 10 attempts to even get them in the same picture. Smiling and looking at the camera just weren’t in the cards for that morning! But this is a memory I will cherish forever because it captures a very ‘real’ moment in my life, raising two rambunctious boys. Though it may not be picture perfect, this life is perfect for me.Strawberry, Arugula, & Goat Cheese Panini from www.BlueCrabMartini.com Once home, I realized that although we could eat these sweet strawberries one by one, it would be more fun to make something with them. When we stumbled upon this locally made goat cheese the following day at the DuPont Circle Farmer’s Market, I knew just what I had to make! This creamy, rich, and decadent goat cheese is made right here in Maryland by Firefly Farms and it’s the perfect pair for sweet and juicy strawberries.

As soon as we returned from the farmer’s market, I went to work in the kitchen making a tasty (and healthy) lunch. This Strawberry, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Panini is such an easy meal to put together, but it’s delicious and sure to make you smile. It’s everything a sandwich should be- layers of bold flavors and creamy-cheesy-goodness all tucked in between two pieces of crisp and toasty bread. Every bite is packed with farm fresh deliciousness!

We used some of our strawberries for this meal, but there were still a ton of those sweet little berries leftover. Check back soon to see what else we created with them! We hope you have the chance to get to your local farm and pick some fresh strawberries for yourself. Happy pickin’! Strawberry, Arugula, & Goat Cheese Panini from www.BlueCrabMartini.com

Strawberry, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Panini
(this will make 1 sandwich)

INGREDIENTS
2 slices of hearty bread (we use a gluten free variety)
Fresh strawberries (about 3-4 berries), cut into slices
Handful of fresh arugula, more or less depending on your preference
Goat cheese (high quality), enough to layer on the sandwich
Butter (organic), enough to lightly butter both slices of bread
Balsamic glaze, for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS
1. Lightly butter the top of both bread pieces.
2. In a non-stick pan on low/medium heat, place the first slice of bread with the buttered side down.
3. Layer on the arugula, goat cheese, and strawberries- in this order.
4. Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing up.
5. Cook until bottom slice of bread is lightly toasted and golden brown, then use a spatula to flip over. Cook this side until lightly toasted. Use the spatula to press everything together. (Of course, a panini press could do all of this for you, but my old fashioned way works just as well!)
6. Can be served with balsamic glaze (reduced balsamic vinegar)- makes for a nice sweet and tangy punch of flavor! Strawberry, Arugula, & Goat Cheese Panini from www.BlueCrabMartini.com sig1

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About bluecrabmartini

I'm a veggie growing, wine drinking, Maryland mom, with a passion for real food and life by the Chesapeake Bay. Check out my blog: www.bluecrabmartini.com
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13 Responses to Strawberry, Goat Cheese, & Arugula Panini

  1. EllaMay says:

    I wish I had some arugula on hand! And a farm close by. This looks just amazing and it seems you guys all had a fun day on the farm. Nice recipe I can’t wait to try it out once strawberries are on sale! 🙂

    • Thanks! We got the arugula at the farmer’s market too (don’t think I mentioned that in the post). Hope you enjoy!

      • EllaMay says:

        You’re just lucky all around :p that sounds like a fun farm to visit! Super jealous. Guess I just need to wait a bit longer for peach season to visit farms around here. Although I believe they are called orchards… but I digress. Looks like fun 🙂

      • Peach season is my favorite! There is an orchard that we went to last year that was amazing. I have it high on my to-do list for this summer! Have a great day 🙂

  2. ANerdCooks says:

    What a delicious looking sandwich! Such a good idea. Your boys look like they had a blast, too!

    • We had a really fun day! I think it was a day in the sun and fresh air that we all needed after that horrible winter we had! Hope you’re doing well and life in Baltimore is good 🙂

  3. Robyn says:

    Yum! Those look SO delicious, Christin, and I can hardly wait to make them. I love strawberries and goat cheese and I have a feeling I will be addicted to this sandwich! lol.
    I went to a farm this weekend but they only had asparagus. We had such a long winter that they said the strawberries won’t be ready for another 3 weeks! Until then I can dream about this sandwich, lol.
    Your boys look adorable! Hope you’re having a great week.

    • Hi Robyn!
      3 more weeks until strawberries?! That’s a bummer, but it gives you something to look forward to! We’ve also been enjoying locally grown asparagus recently and it’s been soooo good. Hopefully the sun shines and the air warms up soon so those berries get ripe sooner for you! Good to hear from you 🙂

  4. Pingback: Weekend Wandering | What I Loved This Week| Living Well Spending Less

  5. Pingback: Strawberry & Rhubarb Compote | Blue Crab Martini

  6. lorisculinarycreations says:

    As soon as I read “Goat Cheese” I was hooked. I found your recipe over at the Treasure Box Tuesday link party. I host Tickle My Tastebuds Tuesday and would love it if you linked up this recipe. I’m sure our party goers would love it as much as I do. Here is the link http://bit.ly/1l4cu0j. Have a wonderful day!!

  7. Miz Helen says:

    Your Strawberry Goat Cheese Arugula Panini looks delicious! Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe with Full Plate Thursday and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. Pingback: Vanilla Cake with Fresh Strawberries (Sugar & Gluten Free) | Blue Crab Martini

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