By People Staff
November 09, 2009 12:00 PM

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Mad Men’s Bryan Batt …

INSIDE MY STORE

Some of the TV star and shop owner’s favorite things

When not filming Mad Men, Bryan Batt can be found inside his New Orleans interior-design shop Hazelnut. “I love mixing whimsical and serious pieces,” he says. “A home should have a sense of humor.” Here’s some of his quirky fare.

RETRIEVER BOOK ENDS

Rustic and sturdy, “they hold your books up like a good dog should,” says Batt. $138; hazelnutneworleans.com

CERAMIC OWL PITCHERS

“I love their vintage feel,” says Batt, who also uses them as bud vases. $15-$36; hazelnutneworleans.com

TOILE FRAME

Batt designed the store’s signature pattern New Orleans Toile “to celebrate the city,” he says. $46; hazelnutneworleans.com

Mad Men airs Sunday nights at 10 p.m. EST on AMC.

FOOD

Ellie Krieger’s …

DINNER FOR FOUR UNDER $10

The Food Network chef offers up a healthy steak dish

Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. on Food Network

TRICOLOR PEPPER STEAK

• 4 tsp. canola oil

• 1 ¼ lbs. top round, london broil or flank steak thinly sliced

• 5 large assorted bell peppers (red, yellow, green)

• 1 large onion, sliced into half moons

• 4 cloves garlic, sliced

• 1½ cups low-sodium beef broth

• ¾ cup dry red wine

• 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

• ½ tsp. black pepper

• 1½ tsp. cornstarch, dissolved in ¼ cup cold water

• 3 cups cooked rice

1. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer meat with its juices to a plate.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tsp. of oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the peppers are softened and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes more.

3. Return the beef and juices to the skillet and add the broth, wine, soy sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and cook until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Serve over the rice.

Dan Aykroyd’s …

CRANIUM COCKTAIL

The actor created a “luxury vodka in a cool bottle” after being inspired by an ancient myth about the mystical powers of the 13 crystal skulls.

CRANIUM

• 1½ oz. Crystal Head Vodka

• 3 oz. cranberry Juice

•½ oz. splash of soda

• drizzle of grenadine

Mix ingredients and garnish with blood orange twist.

CRYSTAL HEAD VODKA

750 ml., $44.95; bevmo.com

ENTERTAINING

ACE YOUR OWN CAKE!

Ace of Cakes chef Duff Goldman helps you throw a sweet baking bash

Duff’s Tips

• Stock up on supplies

“At a cake decorating store, buy gum paste [to sculpt edible flowers and such] so guests can accessorize their cakes.”

• Keep the two “C’s” in mind “Casual dress and clean hands are important so everyone can let loose and taste each other’s cakes.”

• Rock it out

For a fun vibe, “have one person deejay with upbeat music.”

Ace of Cakes airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on the Food Network

VANILLA CAKE

Makes two 9″ round cakes:

• 3½ cups all-purpose flour

• 2½ tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• ½ tsp. salt

• 3 (4 oz.) sticks butter

• 2 cups sugar

• 4 tsp. vanilla

• 6 eggs

• 3 tbsp. canola oil

• 2/3 cup buttermilk

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. Cream (or blend) butter and sugar for 5 to 7 minutes until light. Add vanilla and then eggs one at a time, followed by oil and buttermilk. Combine with flour mixture, then pour into two 9″ round pans.

3. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before icing.

MAKE A COOKIE CAKE!

Sandwich Cookie cake pan, $29.95; williams-sonoma.com

LIZ THORPE’S GUIDE TO

SUPERMARKET CHEESE

The noted fromager picks her faves and gives tips

LA BONNE VIE BRIE

$5.99 per 8 oz.

For a gooey snack, “wrap Brie in a store-bought puff pastry and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees,” says Thorpe.

EMMI GRUYERE

$15.99 per lb.

For an improved grilled cheese sandwich, “Gruyère is a better melter than cheddar,” she says.

MAYTAG BLUE

$15.99 per lb.

“Stuff dried dates with blue cheese, wrap in bacon, secure with toothpicks and pop in toaster oven to cook.”

Thorpe is VP at Murray’s Cheese and author of The Cheese Chronicles.

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