Carrot Ginger Soup with Roasted Chickpeas

Meet Julia Kark Callander
of Julia's Vegan Kitchen.

She's a peach. 

And when I invited her into my kitchen to make one of her signature soups, she gladly obliged.

We like her over here. 

Listen, I know, I know Thanksgiving is in a couple of days, and you've probably already made a lovely menu, but really, you should change all of your plans and make this soup: Julia's Carrot Ginger Soup with Spiced Chickpeas. I'm still dreaming about it.

I've been following Julia's food blog for a number of years now, having met her only once before at a party in Echo Park, so having her in my kitchen was like having a celebrity, really. And she carried on with such grace and ease in her new space, making casual conversation while she chopped and pureed, minced and stirred; it was a pleasure to watch how easy she made it all seem -- especially for someone like me: for some reason I will shy away from soups that require pureeing. I'm a changed woman, I tell you.

PS The addition of the spiced chickpeas to the soup is pure genius. Do not be lazy and/or impatient about the chickpeas. They need to happen. 

[Hello, Autumn. 

Let's cuddle and eat soup, shall we?]

Carrot Ginger Soup with Spiced Chickpeas
courtesy of Julia's Vegan Kitchen

serves 4-6


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6-8 carrots, chopped
  • 6+ cups vegetable stock (she recommends a combination of water, Better Than Boullion, and Kyoto Red miso paste)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • about a tablespoon of Chinese 5 Spice Blend (Julia makes this herself with equal parts ground star anise, fennel seed, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper corn)
  • garnish options: hulled sesame seeds, lime juice, toasted sesame oil, Sriracha, cilantro, and chopped scallions -- I recommend all of the above! 


Start dealing with the chickpeas first because they take the longest. 
1. Preheat oven 400 degrees. 
2. In a mixing bowl, combine: chickpeas, 5-Spice Blend, olive oil, and salt.
3. Lay out chickpea mixture onto baking pan or cookie sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes or until crispy. 

Then the soup.
1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot or heavy sauce pan. Add onions, garlic, ginger. Sauté several minutes. 
2. Add spices and carrots. Sauté
3. Add Boullion-Miso stock, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20-30 minutes until carrots are very soft. 
4. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. 
5. With a handheld blender, puree the soup. Bring back to heat when done. 
6. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, add chickpeas and garnish

Guest: Julia's Vegan Kitchen | Rustic Bread: Atwater Village Bakery | Vegetables: eRoots CSA 

The Common Loon Hot Sauce Recipe

Meet the team of Common Loon Kitchen & Grocery: Elizabeth Bowman, Adam Romney, and Wes Whitehead.

"We believe that delicious and healthy eating begins with seasonal products, cultivated on a small-scale, by real people."

My dear friend, the lovely Elizabeth Bowman, manages the Alta Dena Farmers Market (Wednesdays from 3-7pm) and is just such a wonderful human being. Last month, she invited me to the Common Loon End of Summer Cookout in the DataPop studios courtyard of Culver City.

What made this popup so great -- other than the food, of course -- is this team's ability to naturally create a fun and relaxed environment, with communal tables, and a backyard-barbeque-feel; as if all the guests were old friends meeting each other once again. Joyful. A family reunion, of sorts. It was truly something special.

Wes, the head chef of Common Loon and owner of Stovetop Catering, was kind enough to send us his incredibly addictive and deliciously amazing hot sauce recipe! 


Common Loon Hot Sauce


  • 3/4lb Chayenne pepper
  • 1/4lb (3-4 large peppers) Hungarian wax peppers
  • 2 Serrano peppers
  • 1 Piquin, Jalapeno or other hot pepper
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ small bell pepper
  • 1 medium apple 
  • ~1 tbsp salt
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 2-4 cups water (enough to cover solids)


Core and quarter apple. Rough chop remaining solids. Place all solids in a large nonreactive pot. Pour in vinegar and water (should be just covered). Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 45mins to 1hr or until well reduced and all solids cooked through. Allow to cool until it can be safely handled. Remove apples and puree mixture in food processor or blender. Strain to remove remaining solids. Bottle and refrigerate for a day or so to allow flavors to fully combine. Enjoy!

Serving size: about 1 quart

Prep time: 10-15mins

Total time: 2 ½ - 3hrs


Catering: Common Loon | Craft Beer:  The Faculty LAVenue: DataPop | Flowers: Handmade Floral | Music: The Associates | Photography: Sara Leana of Add a Little Lemon

Cardamom Fig Jam with Labneh

You see, it has been quite a summer, my Saturn Return summer, and so it has been absolutely necessary these days to indulge in simplicity. Good friends, some hot bread, quite a bit of labneh, fig jam from the last figs of the season, and a beautiful view. Slow. Quiet. September feels like the hangover after the party.   

Cardamom Fig Jam

Measurements are not exact. Feel it out; adjust according to taste.


  • about 2 kilos figs

  • about ¾ cup organic evaporated cane juice

  • about ½ cup raw honey

  • juice & zest of one lemon

  • about 2 pinches cinnamon

  • 5 cardamom pods


  1. Wash the figs, remove the stems, and halve.

  2. Place all the ingredients in a big, heavy bottom pot over the stove on medium high.

  3. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely.

  4. Bring down the heat to medium low. Stirring frequently, begin to mash the figs with a wooden spoon to desired consistency.

  5. Bring pot to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to low. Let simmer for about five to ten minutes.

  6. Remove cardamom pods -- if not, they’re a nice surprise

  7. Once cooled, place in jars and store in fridge for up to two weeks.

Muesli / & Breakfast Stability

☀ Muesli is a popular Swiss breakfast of rolled oats, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit. ☀ 

♪ ♫ ♩ ♬

Muesli came into my life a couple of years ago after my brother suggested it as a replacement for packaged cereals. You know how it is. Breakfast often needs to be quick and easy, especially if you have to wake up super early for work. This is the story of how muesli became my morning friend.

And I can't explain how powerful it is to have a stable breakfast. 

Stability in general, I guess.  

Before muesli came into my life, I was with breakfast the way I was with the rest of my meals: restless. I always wanted to try something new, make something different. I'd wake up a little earlier to make myself fancy omelets, perhaps with a frozen waffle doused in maple syrup or a fruit salad. Sometimes bagels toasted with tomatoes, red onions, & yogurt cheese, then topped with sliced avocado. Or left over cake and coffee.

It was a crazy life, I tell you. 


At some point I started following Darya Pino Rose's blog Summer Tomato. This was also recommended by my brother. She also eats muesli for breakfast. And one thing she said that really resonated with me was that breakfast should be a no-brainer. You shouldn't have to even think about breakfast except that you need to eat it. She recommended picking 2 or 3 easy options and sticking to them. Once in a while, on weekends perhaps, you can deviate,

but why make life more
difficult for yourself?  

So even though I can't seem to apply this strategy to the rest of my life, breakfast has become a no-brainer for me. I usually wake up really hungry, pick out a bowl, use the measuring cup left in the muesli container (1/3 cup), pour it in my bowl, add some chia seeds, add some of the toasted flax in the fridge, throw in some blueberries, and add some organic yogurt. Then I mix it up and eat it. Usually with a cup of black coffee. 

Sometimes I use almond milk. Sometimes I use strawberries or bananas. Sometimes I don't add chia and flax, as this is a recent development. You really can do whatever you want. But this way you are guaranteed a healthy, delicious breakfast. 

It's a no-brainer.  




rolled grain of choice | mine: oats
seeds of choice | mine: pumpkin seeds
nuts of choice | mine: almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, brazil nuts
dried fruit of choice | mine: organic dried currants

topping ideas per serving:
toasted flax seeds | chia seeds
blueberries | strawberries | banana
organic yogurt | organic almond milk 


 Mix all the muesli ingredients together in an airtight container for up to 2 months!

You decide how much of each ingredient you want. I generally use 3 parts oats, 2 parts nuts, 1 part seeds, 1 part dried fruit. I recommend using more oats than nuts.