The Dish: Jeff Mauro

Jeff Mauro is the definition of celebrity chef, as host of two Emmy-nominated cooking shows - the Food Network's "Sandwich King" and the talk show, "The Kitchen." Growing up in Chicago, he had a natural gift for entertaining, keeping his family laughing while exploring his love for food.

His first job was in a sandwich shop and he never looked back, also taking the stage as Tony in the Chicago production of the hit comedy, "Tony and Tina's Wedding." Last year, People Magazine named him one of the sexiest chefs in America. And along with his thriving TV career, he launched "Pork and Mindy's," a growing Chicago-area fast casual barbecue chain.

Here are some of Mauro's signature dishes:

New Pastra-Mindy sandwich

Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

P&M Pastrami, simmered in the bag until warm, sliced thick, about 1/4 inch (or use your best cut of Pastrami)
Marble rye bun, buttered and grilled on a flat surface until golden
P&M mustard sauce
Spicy pickles

Directions

1. Layer nice 8-oz layer of sliced pastrami on bottom bun. Drizzle with mustard sauce and top with three pickle slices and the top bun, skewed to the side.

Pig candy

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

12-14 slices of medium cut apple wood smoked bacon (not thick cut, but not paper thin)
2 cups light brown sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place the brown sugar in a pie dish. Gently press each slice of bacon into sugar until coated, (does not need to be 100 percent coated). Work quickly as the brown sugar can compromise the moisture of the bacon and impede caramelization.

2. Place coated bacon on a vegetable oil-sprayed wire-racked, full sheet pan. Bake until super crispy and golden, rotating sheet pan midway through for about 50-60 minutes, depending on oven and thickness of bacon.

3. Remove from sheet to prohibit sticking and let cool on a new surface.

Sweet potato potato salad

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peels removed, cut into 1 inch cubes
Kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 ribs celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pickled relish
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by one inch. Season the water generously with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Once at a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

3. Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Add the vinegar and, using a rubber spatula, toss gentlyto combine.

4. Toss the potatoes with the celery, onions, mayonnaise, pickled relish, whole grain mustard, chives and parsley and taste for seasoning. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and to let the flavors meld, about 30 minutes.

P&M baked beans

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 #10 can black beans
1 #10 can vegetarian baked beans
1 #10 can kidney beans
5 diced (1/4) red pepper
5 diced (1/4) poblano peppers
5 diced (1/4) yellow onion
18 cloves chopped garlic
4.5 cups brown sugar
1.5 cups dijon mustard
1 bag Chicago smokehouse sauce

Directions

1. Mix all ingredients and place in hotel pans.

2. Smoke beans for 2.5 hours at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, cook an additional 30 minutes at 325 Fahrenheit.

Tots & ranch

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1 cup tater tots, fried at 350 degrees for three minutes
2 oz Jeff's famous ranch dressing

Directions

1. Place cooked tots in bowl, serve with side of ranch dressing.

Holy Cannoli Nado'

Serves 1

Ingredients

Premium vanilla ice cream
Whole milk
1 recipe Cannoli filling
Broken Cannoli shells
Whipped cream, slightly sweeted with a hint of orange liqueur
Bright green pistachios, chopped fine
Luxurado Cheeries
Candied orange peels

Directions

1. Blend ice-cream and milk until it's a milkshake, thick but slightly pourable.

2. Pipe in ribbons of the cannoli filling and gently fold, keeping the ribbons of filling intact. Gently fold in shells.

3. Pour into a glass and top with a mound of whipped cream, a full coating of pistachios, 1 luxardo cherry, a candied orange slices.

Cannoli filling

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk ricotta
1.5 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions

1. Mix ricotta, sugar and liquor into bowl. Fold in chocolate chips.

Watermelon & Fresno Mezcalarita

Serves 1

Ingredients

3 oz Mezcal
Fresh watermelon juice (rind removes, blended, strained and chilled, reserve some wedges of watermelon with rind for garnish)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 bright red fresno chile, ribs & seeds scooped out, and sliced thin (save some slices for garnish)
1 oz of orange liqueur
1 oz agave syrup
1 can orange soda water (orange lacriox)

Directions

1. In a shaker, muddle mescal, a couple slices of fresno, fresh watermelon juice, and agave syrup. Shake vigorously and in a rocks glass.

2. Top off with a splash soda and lightly stir.Garnish with 1-3 thin slices of red fresno chile floating on top and small wedge of watermelon (with rind).