DDD #143 – Cirque Du Macabre Vegan Chili for a Chili Cook-Off – for the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.


So – this weekend, I entered a Chili Cook-off!  There were only two vegan entries of the 14 adults competing & it was meat chilis that won the chili titles but I won for best presentation.  Check it out!

Click the image below to watch this on my Youtube channel.

It was a lot of fun & it raised money for the Downtown Women’s Shelter.   Kids competed, too!

Homemade Chili Powder

2 TBS smoked paprika

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix & store in a jar.

Cirque Du Macabre Vegan Chili 

Serves a fuckton!


1 TBS olive oil

2 each – Anaheim, Pasilla & Jalapeno peppers (I used 3 large jalapeno peppers)

2 small sweet potatoes – peeled & cubed

3 ears of unshucked corn or 2 (15 oz) cans of corn kernels

2 celery stalks – chopped

1 large onion (I used 1/2 white & 1/2 sweet onions) – diced

2 red bell peppers

1 TBS chili powder (recipe for homemade is above)

28oz can crushed or diced tomatoes (I used San Marzano)

2 TBS hoisin or BBQ sauce

2 TBS chipotle in adobo – minced

2 TBS vegan bouillon (I used vegan beef bouillon)

1 (4oz) can hot diced jalapenos (optional)

1 (4oz) can mild diced chilis

5 (15oz) cans of beans (I used a mixture of chili beans, light red kidney beans & black beans)

3 lbs vegan ground beef

8-10 large vegan sausages (Beyond Meat are the best)

2 (12oz) tubes vegan chorizo (soyrizo)

4 cups of water

GARNISHES: chopped cilantro, shredded vegan cheese, diced onion, chopped scallions, crushed corn chips, rice, corn bread, hot sauce


I charred all the peppers (Anaheim, Pasilla, red bell & jalapeno) on a grill until the skins were black.  I did the same with the corn.  I put the peppers in a closed container to cool & then peeled & seeded them under cold water.  I shucked the corn.  You need not roast the peppers & corn but it adds a lovely smokiness.  Cool & chop.  Cut the grilled corn from the cobs.

I cooked the sausages on an outdoor grill.  Cook yours as you please.  Cool & chop.

Heat the olive oil in an Instant Pot or on the stove.  Saute the onions & celery until soft.  Add the chili powder & saute a minute.  Add the ground beef & brown it.

If using a slow cooker, transfer the meat from the stove to it.

Now – add everything else or as much as fits in your slow cooker of Instant pot (minding the maximum capacity line).  If it all cannot fit – leave out a few cans of beans.

Slow cooker – cook on high for 4 hours.  Add remaining beans – if they fit – & heat through.

Instant Pot – pressure cook for 45 minutes.  Add any beans you have left & stir to heat them through.



Grilled & Baked Eggplant Pizza Towers with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Chiffonade – A CONTEST! – and Downtown Los Angeles!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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BathingandthesinglegirlCover vromans back


Uh-oh!  Wouldya look at that!  The AMAZING make-up company, Too Faced, has selected my book to give away in the summer essentials giveaway!  All you gotta do is go on Instagram, follow me at @christineelisemccarthy and then navigate to @TooFaced on Instagram, find this image on their wall & follow the rules to enter.  DO NOT enter on MY Instagram page.  Only entries on the Too Faced page will be considered.  A signed copy of my book, a bikini & Too Faced’s ENTIRE summer line!  CRAZY!  And the contest ends tomorrow (June 23, 2015), winner announced June 24, 2015 – so enter NOW!  And remember – go follow me on Instagram, then go follow Too Faced there & enter through their page.  Good luck!

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So – I had jury duty today.  That is the hallway at the court.  Everyone dreads jury duty but I work freelance & literally cannot afford to miss a day of work – let alone a week.  So – I had to miss work today to go down & asked to be rescheduled – which just means that, if I am working in December – I lose at least another day’s pay.  Such a fucked system.  But, anyway – they let me out at noon so I decided to make the best of being downtown & met my friend Rose for lunch at Grand Central Market.  Here is what that LA wonder looks like:

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Pizza was SUPER thin & delightful but it was so friggin’ hot out – neither Rose nor I could eat more than half of the tiny 8″ pizzas.  So – I have some for later!  🙂

Across the street to the west from Grand Central Market is another LA landmark – Angel’s Flight.  It is not currently in service, however.

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Even more interesting – across the street to the east is the Bradbury Building – most famous as a location in Bladerunner.  Look how incredibly gorgeous it is!

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And there you have it!  My downtown Los Angeles adventure today & a chance to win lots of make-up & a bikini & a signed copy of my book!

The recipe next.  It isn’t really a recipe.  It is an idea & I have been talking about it a lot lately & eating it even more frequently.  These eggplant pizza towers.  Not really pizza but born of my wanting a tortilla pizza but without tortillas.

I slice up & eat an entire small eggplant alone but quantities of everything really depends on how many you are feeding, how hungry they are & then personal taste as to the sauce-cheese ratio.  So – an informal recipe will follow.  Also – these would be nice served on top of pasta tossed with a red sauce.  I cannot recommend Rao’s highly enough.

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Grilled & Baked Eggplant Pizza Towers with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Chiffonade 


About 1 eggplant per person – sliced about 1/4-1/2 inch thick & lightly salted

Fresh mozzarella – enough to put a few slices on top of each slice of eggplant

Red sauce of your choice

Fresh basil

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Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

I grilled the slices on my stove top grill first to char them a bit.  Just to get some grill marks on them & cook out some moisture.  I did it on the grill dry & it took about 5-7 minutes – flipping the slices occasionally.  You can do this on your burners on the stove or in a grill pan or on a real grill – with or without oiling the slices.

OR – you can opt to bake the slices naked for 15-20 minutes to get them less thick & mushy.

Whatever you do – cook out some moisture & try to grill a little flavor onto the slices.

Top with sauce & cheese – quantities up to you.

Bake at 350 on a cooking sheet topped with parchment paper (THE BEST – nothing sticks) or treated with cooking spray or olive oil.  Assemble each eggplant slice with sauce & cheese & cook them in a single layer – stacking them into towers when you put them on the plate.

Meanwhile – to make the basil chiffonade – simply stack several leaves of basil, roll them into a tube & slice the tube up.  Voila!

It should take 10-15 minutes for the cheese to melt & begin to turn golden but all ovens are different so eyeball it & take them out when they look good to you.

Stack your little eggplant pizzas & garnish with basil.  Yum!

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