Brie, Fig & Pear Panini

Brie, Fig & Pear Panini

In an earlier post, I shared my desire to get to know my neighbors.  What better way than to invite them over for a meal?  Easier said than done.  At the thought of having guests, my mind begins churning and stressing over every little detail – is our house presentable?  what kind of food should I serve?  It has to be something impressive and, of course, delicious.  Maybe I need to get some new napkins…  New salad bowl?  Serving platter?…

Upon listening to the sermon on Sunday that dived into the importance of humility in neighboring, I was humbled beyond words.  It begged me to ask the question, “why do I want to love my neighbors?”.

Perhaps it’s out of pride, to feel good about myself, or to gain something in return.  I shamefully acknowledge that I can’t completely disclaim any one of these reasons.  Part of me wants to show my neighbors and give them the false notion that I have everything under control.  That my house is always sparkling and my food always tastes amazing.  My hair is always combed and I wear cute clothes all the time.  Perhaps it’s bc I want more than anything to gain favor in God’s eyes even though I know all too well that I’m saved not through my works but by grace and grace alone.

But really, in the midst of all this, my heart yearns for genuine relationships.  Genuine.  No false pretenses.  This means I shouldn’t feel ashamed to show the real me.  There’s no need for me to try so hard to cover up my flaws and put my best face forward.  It’s just not sustainable and without realizing, feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and competitiveness may brew up.  How many times have I been invited to a house that seems like paradise causing me to return home thinking, “what’s wrong with my place” when it suited me just fine earlier?  I get this urge to turn my place upside down.

So while I won’t invite my neighbors to a pig sty, I’m not going to obsess over the little things.  I don’t want that to deter me from opening up my house, which has been the case for too long.  Plus, a messy house may be more inviting, esp for families with children ;).  Awesome!  I hate cleaning…

Brie, Fig & Pear Panini

As for the food, if I set out to serve a 3 course meal every time we have company over, I can promise you this: no neighbors will be invited after about a month.  That kind of attention and energy should be saved for meaningful conversations to be shared at the dining table.

So, instead, I serve a humble meal.  How about a Brie, Fig & Pear Panini!  Anything with melted cheese between 2 slices of buttered bread is bound to be a hit, no?

Brie, Fig & Pear Panini

I happily opened the jar of fig jam that I’ve had specially tucked away for the past 3 months.  That alone makes this panini extra special.  But combined with sweet pear slices, fresh and spicy arugula, and cheese?  This is one gourmet sandwich, as the Hungryman put it.

I’m curious…Do you invite your neighbors over for a meal?  If so, what do you like to serve?  Do you sweat the little details like me or do you just go with the flow?

Brie, Fig & Pear Panini
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4 panini
Ingredients
  • 8 slices of whole wheat bread or other rustic bread
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 8 Tbs fig preserves
  • 8 oz. brie, cut into thin slices
  • 2 Asian pears, cored and sliced
  • Baby Arugula
Instructions
  1. Heat a panini machine or a grill pan over medium heat.
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Spread fig preserves on unbuttered side of one slice. Layer with pear, brie, and arugula. Place other piece of bread on top and put in panini maker or grill pan. If using a grill pan, place something heavy on top of sandwich and press down until cheese begins to melt.
  4. Repeat with rest of sandwiches. Slice and serve immediately while cheese is warm.

Lovely comments

  1. says

    Hey dear! I’m touched by your desire to open up your house to neighbors and started where your home is. I think I really need to start learning to love people again, it’s hard sometimes, when unappreciation sets in. Thanks for the inspiration…
    xoxo
    felicia

  2. says

    Unnniiieeee!!! This is suuuuuch an amazingly beautiful post in every sense of the word! The message, the reminder, the conviction, and ummm the delicious food/recipe. :D I’m definitely trying to reach out to our neighbors more, but since we live in the “sah-taek” riiiight next to our church (literally in the same grounds), it take a lot more work and patience to simply have a conversation with them since they have a preset notion of Christianity, church, etc. But hopefully we’ll get there soon :D Love you unnie!

    • says

      Thank you, Ellie ssi ;). Yea..I could see how that could be difficult. What is sah-taek by the way? I have no doubt that your sweet and loving personality will shine through no matter the circumstances! Love you too :)

    • says

      Thank you, Kari ;). That’s exactly my problem..obsessing over the most minuscule details caused me so much grief, but now I’m trying to focus my attention on what matters most.

  3. says

    First off, this sandwich looks amazing!!! Second, I hear your angst over having people over, but I have gotten over it, having a husband who likes to ask anyone and everyone over to our house without a second thought. Love that you’re getting to know your neighbors. My family is so incredibly lucky, that not only do we have parents/grandparents living close by, but we also have the most amazing neighborhood, where we typically get together once a week for a potluck, or sometimes to go out to dinner. And, yes, your friends with kids will not expect your house to be sparkling clean the least little bit :-)

    • says

      Haha! Fortunately, my husband likes spending time with me alone so we don’t have company unless we officially invite them. But that’s quickly changing now, and I’m sure I’ll get over it just like you have ;). I’m so jealous! I wish my family lived closer…my parents are in Korea, and I miss them terribly. And your neighborhood sounds like so much fun! I can’t wait to get to know my neighbors and start something like that.

  4. says

    Yum, this looks divine!! I absolutely love brie :)
    I definitely sweat the small stuff. I like having people over and know I should, but the whole cooking a meal thing is hard for me to do for others…odd that I’m a food blogger!!!

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