Scenes from a Dinner Party

I really wanted the title of this post to be:
"Cooking in Someone Else's Kitchen".

Have you tried this? Cooking in someone else's kitchen?

I don't like it. I actually cooked for a small dinner party at my friend's house on Saturday night. She has a GORGEOUS huge custom kitchen, and I thought it would be a good idea and I would get to use her beautiful new La Cornue French enamel blue DOUBLE oven!
Yes, a double oven! My dream!
I can cook one dish on one side at 350 degrees and the other dishes on the other side at 425!
So, of course I said YES.

Well, I have to be honest with you. I like my little kitchen better. All I have to do is turn around in one twirl and I am at the sink. I don't have 16 drawers to find Saran Wrap and who puts paper towels under the sink? She does.
I couldn't find anything in HER kitchen, because it wasn't MY kitchen.
At least her knives were shiny and sharp (from lack of use!!).

My review of the La Cornue:
It is beautiful, like a piece of fine furniture. It is the focal point of the room.
It is the price of a one carat diamond with E color.

It cooks way too hot, you have to turn the temperature down 25 degrees to get it right. It cooked a gorgeous beef tenderloin (which should've been medium rare) more like medium well, and I took 15 minutes off the time!

Another thing I disliked about it is that when you open the heavy doors, the hot steam singes your eyelashes! Look out! This thing definitely takes some getting used to. My large cookie sheets did not fit into this large blue monster, it's all talk, no action.

I am not complaining, just telling it like it is.
The dinner still came out delicious.
I will never curse my tiny kitchen again.

Beef Tenderloin: Coat meat all over with lots of kosher salt & black pepper and a bit of olive oil. Sear in a pan to brown a few minutes. Transfer to roasting pan and depending on size, roast at 425 for about 30 minutes for medium rare (I use a meat thermometer and when it registers 135, I take it out, it will cook more on the counter).
Tent loosely with foil for 10 minutes before slicing.

I made a Gorgonzola Sauce to go with the meat.
Sour cream, gorgonzola cheese, a tbsp Worcestershire sauce, black pepper.

Roasted Beet & Orange Salad over Arugula (click on link to recipe)

Potato Galette w/ Thyme:
Slice about 5 large Yukon Gold potatoes w/ mandolin. Butter a gratin dish.
Saute 2 onions, that have been thinly sliced in butter and olive oil.
Add potato slices, 2 tbsp fresh thyme and your sauteed onions with 1 cup Gruyere cheese, 2 cup heavy cream, salt & pepper. Pour into your greased gratin dish and press down. Bake at 350 for about an hour on a baking sheet.

Chloe, the Whippet waiting for some table scraps!


Even though you had a hard time in the kitchen, it sure didn't show. I might make the tenderloin on Christmas Eve. I need something that cooks quick.
Karen said…
I'm with you when it comes to cooking or baking-- there's no place like home! ;)
Michele said…
First let me say, beautiful centerpiece! Even though you said the beef was overcooked it still looks beautiful. Everything really does. I have to agree, it is hard to cook in someone else's kitchen. I feel like food tastes much better when I cook it in my own house. Less stressful (don't want to break anything or get anything too messy or dirty) and you know where everything is. Also, you KNOW you have everything you need. Cooking at my mom's sometimes makes me a little crazy because she doesn't always have the tools I need. I was so tired of cutting with her dull knives that I bought her a new set!
Shari said…
Wow, what an amazing meal you cooked. I know, though, what you mean about cooking in your own kitchen, small or otherwise.
Anonymous said…
Wow, everything looks scrumptious! Nothing beats home cooking!
Anonymous said…
I know exactly what you mean about cooking in someone else's kitchen, and as I prepare to head to my parents' place for Christmas I'm about to experience it first hand.

I love cooking for them, but I'm driven insane by their oven that shuts off when it gets too hot (it's an oven! argh!), their weak gas burners, and their blunt knives.

Still, your meal looked like a big success, especially that potato galette!
LaDue & Crew said…
Everything looks amazing, despite the unfamiliarity! I wish I were that good in less than ideal circumstances! Do you have any tips for roasting a prime rib? I have a 17 lb one for Christmas. My husband wants to try it on the rotisserie of the grill, but I'm leaning towards my oven- I'm afraid!
kat said…
What a beautiful meal. But I'm with you I love my little kitchen that is set up just the way I like it
Giff said…
I hate cooking in other people's kitchens. I grant that a good cook should be able to roll with the punches and make magic with whatever equipment is available (although an oven that doesn't have an accurate thermostat might be an exception). But still!

That french stove sure is a looker, though!
Anonymous said…
Yes, the oven is gorgeous and yeah it needs getting used to but it's a beauty! The food is beautiful, you did great despite the challenge.
Beautiful oven - too bad it didn't go so well. The dinner still looked fantastic! And I love the centerpiece with the pine-cones and berries.
well the knives were sharp - I have tried cooking with peoples 'tools' that included a steak knife, a butter knife and some kind of large metal object with a handle that was as sharp as a spoon...(their 'best' knife) the meat looks tasty with the gorgonzola sauce.
Chef Chuck said…
Yes, some good beef, that look like we are ready to eat!
Those potatoes look crunchy on the ends, Yum
And the cheese!
Thanks , Chuck
Looks delicious. Did you have to clean up too?

My oven is the exact opposite. I have to turn it up 25 to 35 degrees for any and all recipes.

The beef is perfectly cooked to my liking ~ well done! Well done, Stacey.

Peter M said…
Stace, I hear's like when you sleep in someone else's bed (hotel, relatives, whatever).

The beef tenderloin with bleu is a classic but the show stopper here is your potato galette...awesomeness!
Bluebird NY said…
This meal should be featured in Bon Appetit - all so perfect, right down to the centerpiece and lovely dog reclining at the end!

Cooking in someone else kitchen is a challenge. Makes me feel pretty spastic even when I know what I'm doing. I feel better knowing so many of your readers feel the same!!!!
I totally agree with Peter!The potatoes stole the show!! The edges all golden brown and curly. Picture perfect! I'd love to sit down to this meal in your "tiny kitchen" any old time!
Anonymous said…
Wow what a beautiful meal and kitchen! My neighbor has the same oven in black and said it took some getting used to because of the smaller oven sizes. Once she got used to it, she was HOOKED.

Mmmmm that tenderloin looks DELICIOUS!
Patsyk said…
Oh, Stace! That gorgonzola sauce is making my mouth water (and I just ate lunch!). What a meal... my kitchen is on the small side as well. It's never easy cooking in someone else's kitchen... everyone organizes things differently! My husband even has a hard time finding things in mine! LOL!
Anonymous said…
You can come cook in my kitchen anytime! I'll store paper towels wherever you'd like them and I have a double oven (but nothing as fancy schmancy as the La Cornue)! The dinner looks wonderful, and I'm sure it was. Can't wait to try the tenderloin!

Your #1 Fan, EllenB
Alexa said…
I can't imagine having the luxury of a double oven... well actually, I can imagine and it sounds pretty good to me. :-)
The meal you put together for your friend looks amazing. You are one classy chef Stace! Happy holidays... Hannukah or Christmas or both! :-)
Anonymous said…
sorry I'm so late... but no time till now to write

A. Beautiful, outstanding centerpiece.

B. Sensational potaotes

C. Gorgeous salad

D. Beef looks just right to me

E. Compliments to one special lady who sure does know how to cook!!!!! No matter where!

I love the beef tenderloin and the galette. Gorgeous presentation.

I had to laugh when you said the knives were shiny and sharp from lack of use. Why does it seem that those of us with tiny little kitchens seem to do the most cooking and those people with the fanciest, best equipped, largest kitchens hardly ever cook at all?
Anonymous said…
I sure know what you mean. My mother has a huge kitchen with a really nice oven but I HATE it! I LOVE my ktichen and my oven!! Yes, it would be nice to have a double oven but I will make mine work. Your meal was beautiful. I will be cookin at my mother's Christmas Eve, wish me luck. I will be cooking a beef tenderloin too.
The food looks amazing...but I totally understand what you mean!
SarahB said…
Great post Sta! The meal looks great!
Pam said…
I like having a smaller kitchen too.

The meal looks and sounds amazing. The potato galette is calling my name.
Anonymous said…
You're beef and sauce look wonderfully tasty. I agree with you. It's very hard to cook in someone else's kitchen. Even when I bought my new house, I had to reconfigure the space to make it functional to the way I cook. Now I'm much more productive and the food comes out great. Also, your post about the oven is a classic example of how cooking equipment works differently from house to house. I've had people tell me they tried my recipes and the cooking time varied from what I listed. That's why I like to give a range of times to accommodate such a variance.
Lori Lynn said…
Stacey - we are twins! I cooked in someone else's kitchen this past Sunday, and made a very similar meal to yours, in New Jersey, no less! What a hoot. I am going to write about it too.