March 2009 Dinner for Four in, Seriously, About an Hour (and 4000 Dishes)


Sweatshirts and wine bottles and mismatched napkins! That's how we roll!

Verdict: Totally Marthable, I was amazed that we got this on the table in an hour, but there wasn’t that much to it, except a lot of dishes to wash. Here are our thoughts on what ended up being a super fun night indoors as March weather continued to be an asshole.

Starter – Spring Onion Soup


Susan: I think we were all in agreement about two things. 1) The making of this soup makes anyone who steps into your kitchen burst into uncontrollable tears, and 2) The eating of this soup makes anyone who puts a spoon into their mouth burst into uh uninspired and boring noises. Too much of one thing. And that thing is onions. Easy to make though if suddenly you find yourself with onions and an immersion blender and a heat source.

Lesley: If we all get laid off and/or get our braces tightened, this will be our go-to dish.  I didn’t not like it, but the addition of cheese would have made it more fun. Sort of like a French onion porridge.  (Ps – Susan LOVES her immersion blender, perhaps a little too much.)

Salad: Pan-Seared Scallops over Wilted Spinach and Arugula


Susan: This was the showstopper, to me, and I don’t normally even like scallops. Plus I got to use my rectangular Fish’s Eddy plate for something other than crackers and cheese. Basically you put things into a hot pan and stir — things that when on the counter look like they are going to be the ugliest things ever – and voila you have some veggies and some fish. Or fish-type thing, or whatever demon scallops actually are.

Lesley: Somewhere our mother is feeling redeemed right now because this dish consists entirely of items that we would never have eaten under her watch. Seriously the easiest thing ever. You need salt, pepper, scallops, oil and a bunch of greens. Plus you get to prod the little guys with tongs. Scallops are just fun. And delicious. Pass the spinach, adulthood isn’t so bad.

Main Course – Pasta with Fresh Herbs


Susan: Easy but kinda forgettable. All I can remember is the scallops and the dessert. And how much I cried during the onions. And how much this picture supports my plea that we get some sort of sconces on our kitchen wall so I can take better pictures. Maybe sconces will be in the April Martha. “Sconces for People Who Rent Tiny Apartments and Who Would Love to Do This as Cheaply as Possible.”

Lesley: File this one in your “Crowd-Pleasing Side Dishes to Bring to a Party or a Picnic” file or your “Make a Ton of This on Sunday Night and Eat Throughout the Week” file. It’s basic and simple and yummy. Good call on the lemon zest, Martha.  

Dessert – Cherry and Almond Parfaits


Susan: Home run, AND you get to use storebought cookies! Luckily I had the necessary amount of dried cherries (which are easily poached in water and sugar) because I use them to make granola. And I used whole ricotta instead of part-skim because that’s all Ellwood Thompson’s had, and…come on we had onion soup. I think we can splurge on a couple ricotta calories.

Lesley: I have to admit that I played no part in making these, but I sure played a part in scarfing down mine and part of James’s (as soon as we told him that it was ricotta, he pushed it aside. Have I married the only Italian on earth that hates ricotta cheese?). If it wasn’t for this dessert (and all of the manchego, wine and dark beer), I think everyone would have been hungry an hour later.


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