Cooking School in Luang Prabang

For my birthday, celebrated in Luang Prabang, Laos, we all went to cooking school. It was such fun, and of course very, very delicious. Any good cooking school starts with the local market–in which we had an extensive visit. It was so fascinating, super colorful, and full of smells, both good and bad! The actual school was set in the jungle outside. Laos cooking involves two major components: a mortar for the mixing and a fire for charring. Laos food is surprisingly smokey in flavor and this would explain why. We each made our own food, so we could each decide how much spice we’d add; I usually added three red chili peppers. The food was so good as was the company. It was a really neat way to spend my birthday. And speaking of cooking school, all this week, I’m away on a school trip with 20 students in Chang Rai, Thailand for some Masterchef classes. I love cooking, so I think I scored with this school trip. I’ll try document some of what I learn. In the meantime, enjoy these colorful pictures of the market and some family fun from our trip to Luang Prabang. And if you travel there, make sure to take the Tamarind Cooking Class.

*Warning: there are A LOT of pictures in this post!

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Pumpkin Roundup


Image from Wikimedia Commons

Halloween has come and gone. Before those pumpkins go bad, I’ve rounded up some different options for what to do with the leftover pumpkins starting with this one: Ten Use for Your Pupkin.

Gazpacho: Basically a Veggie Smoothie

Yes, Labor Day has passed and hence marked the end of summer, yet the heat may still remain (luckily) for a few more blissful moments. Anything cool will help this heat–including a nice cold soup! There are tons of different versions of gazpacho. I’d venture to say they’re all very similar in taste and procedure. The other day, Gigi and I wanted to make some gazpacho; we looked at several different versions and then just went for it. It was basically similar to making a smoothie–just with vegetables instead!


  • Basically, you choose all your veggies, chop them up, throw about 3/4 into the blender, and press.
  • Then add the juice–in this case, tomatoes! We added some fresh cherry tomatoes, a can of oven roasted tomatoes, and a jar of tomato juice. Again blend.
  • The quarter of veggies you left aside then get thrown in to add little bite sizes. If you want chunkier gazpacho, you’d only blend half the veggies; likewise if you want smooth gazpacho you’d blend it all.
  • You can decide the kick by determining how many chili peppers to add plus the amount of shallots, onions, or garlic. Finally, salt and pepper to your liking.

Chill the gazpacho, freeze it for later, and enjoy a very healthy veggie smoothie!

(We kept our version more healthy by omitting any bread. For alternative types of gazpacho–red or green, check out all of these different options.)