Maui Food and Dining

Eat Like the First Family: Recipes

November 9, 2012, 2:47 PM HST
* Updated November 9, 2:51 PM
Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Vanessa Wolf is a former head chef, previously working in Portland, Oregon.

By Vanessa Wolf

Getty images.

It’s Veteran’s Day Sunday!

Cook up some food, sit down at the table, and force the youngsters to listen as you reminisce about the war.

Fresh out of battlefield tales?


Celebrate another four years with Hawaii’s own Barack Obama at the helm by cooking up some of his family’s favorites.

Barack Obama’s Favorite Chili


“I’ve been using this chili recipe since college and would bring it to any potluck. I can’t reveal all the secrets, but if you make it right, it’s just got the right amount of bite, the right amount of oomph in it, and it will clear your sinuses.”
–President Barack Obama

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • Several cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or beef
  • 1/4 t. ground cumin
  • 1/4 t. ground oregano
  • 1/4 t. ground basil
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
    3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • Several tomatoes, depending on size, chopped
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for garnish)
  • sour cream (for garnish)
  1. Saute onions, green pepper, and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add ground meat and brown.
  2. Combine spices together into a mixture, then add to ground meat.
  3. Add red-wine vinegar. Add tomatoes and let simmer until the tomatoes cook down (about an hour).
  4. Add kidney beans and cook for a few more minutes.

Serve over white or brown rice. Garnish with grated cheddar cheese, onions, and sour cream.

Getty images

Soooo…what was that about clearing sinuses?


There’s not anything hot listed that would cause a single tear to well, so we recommend adding some fresh Serrano, Thai or even Hawaiian chili pepper near the end…if you dare.

Too mad at the reelected President to choke down his chili?

Surely you don’t blame the kids!

Perhaps you’ll find their favorite a little more palatable…or at least get a little snicker out of the fact that they’re getting tricked into eating cauliflower and probably don’t even know it.

Sasha and Malia Obama’s Favorite Mac and Cheese

From Healthy Recipes From the White House to You by Michelle Obama


  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup 2% or skim milk
  • 1 pound shredded cheddar cheese (or a mixture of your favorite melting cheeses)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Despite multiple steps, this mac and cheese recipe is incredibly fast and easy to put together. Though the First Lady’s recipe doesn’t mention cooking the cauliflower, we recommend doing so…and pureeing it so finicky eaters don’t freak out. (Note the added step.)

  1. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente.
  2. Steam the cauliflower until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender along with a few tablespoons of the steaming liquid. Puree the cauliflower, adding more steaming liquid to thin the puree if necessary.
  3. In a medium size casserole dish, combine the pasta and hot cauliflower puree. Add the milk, both cheeses, parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Not so much.


Hells yeah!

We welcome your feedback. Please let us know if you hear of any new restaurants opening or reopening, total menu overhauls, or simply know of a hidden treasure you want to share. Have a restaurant you want reviewed (or re-reviewed)? Drop us a line.

Dying to know how a certain dish is made so you can recreate it at home? Send in a request, and we will try to pry the secret out of the chef…and even take a run at cooking it up ourselves. Mahalo. -vanessa(

Make the most of your Maui vacation with these top-rated activities: Maui Top 20: Maui Visitor & Tourism Information
E-Mail Newsletters Receive daily or weekly updates via e-mail. Subscribe Now
News Alerts Breaking news alerts on your mobile device. Get the App


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments