While a big spotlight's been cast on the future king of England this week, there's another king worth toasting to: Sandwich King Jeff Mauro, who celebrates his birthday today. In honor of his big day, we're rounding up the Food Network star's most resourceful cooking tips. From nostalgic sandwiches to cold-brewed iced coffee, here are five indispensable nuggets of kitchen wisdom we gleaned from him.
Jeff Mauro is known for his sandwiches, but he teamed up with Seattle's Best Coffee to create sandwich-inspired coffee drinks. "I put sandwiches into things, put sandwiches onto things, and this was another challenge for me," Jeff told us of the recipe.
You've heard of chocolate, caramel, and hazelnut blended coffees, but peanut butter and jelly? I was obviously intrigued and determined to try it for myself. Jeff even claims this recipe is the most interesting coffee recipe that he's developed, further remarking, "I have never seen on a menu (or anywhere else) both peanut butter and coffee and a fruit as well."
I was surprised to find that the blended coffee didn't contain that much sugar. "I don't really like coffee too sweet," Jeff said. "The coffee really shines, and that's my goal, always." Balanced it is. The condensed cold brew coffee is blended with the right amount of ice and milk for a frothy caffeinated fix. The strawberry syrup plays up the subtle fruitiness of the coffee beans, and the roasted peanuts add a nice crunch and roasted flavor. Read on to see the PBJ coffee recipe.
"Sandwich King" Jeff Mauro knows a thing or two about great cheeses. In particular, the Food Network star, who's partnered with Cracker Barrel Cheese, has a soft spot for cheddar, specifically domestic varieties. "We're turning out great cheese and beating a lot of imported cheeses," he said. "Go America, right?"
Since we're always on the hunt for affordable cheese plate ideas, a punchy sandwich, or great pairing ideas, we asked Jeff to share his cheese expertise. Here are his thoughts on all things cheddar.
- Showcase cheddar on a cheese plate: "Use a good, affordable cheese as the bulk, then indulge in the more expensive imported cheeses," Jeff advises. Cracker Barrel's version is just under $4.
- Splurge on a domestic aged cheddar: Jeff loves old cheddars, which are strong and slightly crunchy from salt and aged enzymes. "I have gotten an 18-year-old cheddar [from an Amish village] that cost me $24 for a small block. It is so indulgent."
Jeff Mauro, better known as the Sandwich King on Food Network, spent a little time away from his set (and his hectic schedule as spokesperson for Cracker Barrel Cheese) to talk to us about the meats and breads that are currently trending in the sandwich world (surprise: they're actually domestic!) and one classic American dish he's proud to have sandwich-ized.
POPSUGAR: What sandwich trends are you seeing this year?
Jeff Mauro: I am seeing a lot of bologna out there, a lot of grilled bologna. I did a grilled bologna burger last episode on the show that kind of prompted that. I did a really thick cut — I think a half-inch-thick cut — of grilled bologna. A lot of places in Chicago are doing grilled bologna with a fried egg and onions. I guess people want the nostalgia. That is where a lot of great trends come from, harking back to being a kid and eating grilled bologna. I am going to say that is going to explode even further.
PS: Pretzel buns are all the rage. We can't wait to make your homemade version this Summer. What's the ultimate way to fill 'em?
JM: I’ll tell you three things: a robust cheddar, pickled jalapeños, and ham. That’s all you need; it is the best of everything. It is like a ballpark in your mouth. You get the soft pretzel with the cheddar, so it’s almost like a nacho. It's unbelievable.
Keep reading to learn more, including Jeff's favorite sandwich creation from this year.
Forget French pressing or the pour-over method: there's a different type of coffee brewing that's sparking the attention of java lovers. It's called cold-brewing, and it's a lengthy (but easy) process.
Cold-brewing involves saturating ground coffee beans in cold, filtered water, covering the container and letting it sit out at room temperature for 12 hours, then straining out the coffee grounds. The efforts are by no means immediate, but the end result might win you over: cold brews are lighter and thinner, and their flavors won't be weakened by ice. In contrast to brewing a hot cup of coffee, which draws out the acidity and bitterness of beans, a cold brew slowly extracts the bean's flavorful oils.
Food Network chef Jeff Mauro has a penchant for blended iced coffee drinks, and a cold brew is his preferred method. He adds, "I just think, as far as for the iced coffee application, there is no better way, because you are not brewing it over ice and diluting it. It takes time to do it, but the payoff is great."
Twelve hours may seem like a lifetime, but this method really just involves remembering to combine the two ingredients while prepping dinner so you can wake up to refreshing, invigorating cold-brewed coffee in the morning. The brew is concentrated, so dilute it with filtered water to your liking, and then serve over ice. Stay tuned for Jeff's recipe for cold-brewed coffee, which he uses for his signature Peanut Butter and Jelly Blended Coffee.
On his show, the approachable chef empowers us to make gourmet — but no-fuss — sandwiches at home. For Chef Mauro, it's more about purchasing fresh, high-quality ingredients than stuffing a sandwich with 20 fixings. Find out what you should always store in your pantry and what makes up his favorite sandwich.
Sandwich chains are all the rage, and they're only going to get bigger. Earlier this Summer, Flip video camera founder Jonathan Kaplan announced a new mobile-driven grilled cheese concept The Melt, with plans to spawn 500 national locations by 2015. If that weren't enough, 100 Montaditos, which is being described as a "Spanish Starbucks for sandwiches," will roll out 4,000 US locations in the next five years.
While there's no denying that the sandwich is essential to American cuisine, it remains to be seen if it can shrug off its brown-bag lunch image and venture into serious dinner territory. Are you excited about the new era of sandwiches — and do you see them being appropriate to eat for every occasion?
Source: Flickr User diekatrin