Great Ideas

updated 06/29/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/29/2009 AT 01:00 AM EDT

ENTERTAINING

$8 PER PERSON

HOW TO PARTY LIKE Diddy

The music star's tips for a guaranteed good time

THE DECOR
His annual A-list Fourth of July bash (in L.A. this year) features an all-white theme—from the peonies to the candles—to ensure "guests stay in the summer mood and look great," Diddy says.

FUN FAVORS
Paper fan, $1; Pearl River, pearlriver.com or 800-878-2446

MOOD LIGHTING
White lantern (sizes vary), $1.25-$9.50; Pearl River, 800-878-2446

CHIC CENTERPIECE
Cove serving bowl, $24.95, tealight candles, $4.95 for 12; Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com

CHICKEN WITH SWEET HICKORY MERLOT ROSEMARY BBQ SAUCE (serves 4)

• 1 family pack of chicken (approx. 3 lbs.)
• 2 cups ketchup
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 1 cup merlot
• ½ cup light brown sugar
• ½ cup granulated sugar
• 1½ tsp. fresh-cracked black pepper
• 2 tsp. onion powder
• 1 tsp. garlic powder
• 1 tsp. dry mustard
• 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
• 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
• 1 tsp. liquid smoke
• ½ cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
• 1 bunch fresh thyme
• 1 bunch fresh rosemary
• salt and pep-per to taste

1. Combine all ingredients (except salt and pepper) in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil on high heat, then turn down to low. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour; stir every 20 minutes. If after 1 hour the sauce isn't the consistency you like, you can cook for up to 1 more hour.

2. Season chicken with the salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for at least 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Coat chicken with BBQ sauce and cook on each side an additional 10 minutes.

THE DIDDY

• 1½ oz. Ciroc vodka
• 4 oz. fresh-squeezed lemonade
• lemon wheel garnish

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Add garnish.

HOME

Michael Smith's ...
ALL-AMERICAN STYLE

The designer who revamped the First Family's quarters recommends historic home accents

STARS AND STRIPES POSTER
A Jasper Johns "Flag" poster "takes this classic look in a youthful direction," says Smith. $18.95; momastore.org

CHICKENWIRE VOTIVES
"They look like antiques," raves Smith, who also likes their rustic vibe. $34 for 3; wisteria.com

PATCHWORK QUILT
Smith says a quilt adds a "colonial" feel. Country Living Sharon quilt, $80; qvc.com

GAMEBOARD TRAY
"This feels like folk art," says Smith, who would hang it on a wall. $64; wisteria.com

PAINT A ROOM RED!

Painter David Bromstad's tips for getting it right

• Choose the shade carefully. If you go too bright, "it'll look like a kids' room," Bromstad says, and if it's too dark, "you'll feel like you're at the gates of Hades!"

• Evaluate your space. "Red is very powerful," he says, so if you want to paint all four walls, the room needs to be large. For just a splash of color, try just one wall.

• Use contrasting accessories. Whether you go with cream slipcovers or yellow throw pillows, the point is "to break up the red," he says.

TANGO RED
$49.99/gal.; mythicpaint.com

CALIENTE AF-290
$49.99/gal.; benjaminmoore.com

SPANISH RED-1301
$49.99/gal.; benjaminmoore.com

Catch Bromstad on HGTV's Color Splash Saturdays at 9 p.m.

FOOD

Philippe Chow's ...
LUNCH FOR FOUR UNDER $10

The chef behind the chain of Philippe eateries shares his sizzling steak recipe (George Clooney's a fan!)

BEEF SKEWERS

• ½ lb. flank steak sliced into thin strips, about
8 strips
• ¼ cup flour
• ¼ cup cornstarch
• 3 eggs
• 2 tbsp. canola oil
• ¼ cup carrot juice
• 8" bamboo skewers (Make sure to soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes before cooking)
• 2 tbsp. canola oil for frying

1. Mix flour, cornstarch, eggs, canola oil and carrot juice in a large mixing bowl. Then add the beef and mix gently, making sure the beef does not separate.

2. Let sit in fridge for at least an hour, then take each strip of steak and thread through the skewer. Set aside.

3. Put a large pan on medium-high heat with 2 tbsp. canola oil. Place skewers on one side for about 2 minutes and then flip and fry for another 2 minutes, depending on how thick the beef is.

4. Take any sauce you like on your beef, be it flavored mayonnaise or peanut satay sauce (which you can find in the Asian aisle of the supermarket), and spread to taste on top of the skewers. Pair with sauteed vegetables or fried rice, if desired.

Philippe West Hollywood opens this September

APPLE PIE (JUST LIKE MOM'S!)

The Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. Ina Garten) shares her recipe for this American classic

CHEAP & FANCY

• 4 lbs. Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and cored
• 1 lemon, zested
• 1 orange, zested
• 2 tbsp. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
• 1 tbsp. fresh-squeezed orange juice
• ½ cup sugar, plus 1 tsp. to sprinkle
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp. kosher salt
• ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
• Pie Crust (store bought or recipe on FoodNetwork.com)
• 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

3. Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and brush with the egg/water mix. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar and cut 4 or 5 slits.

4. Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 ¼ hours, or until the crust is browned. Serve warm.

Ina Garten's show Barefoot Contessa airs daily on the Food Network

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