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Who's Cooking: Laurie Trujillo-Mamay, East Hampton

Laurie Trujillo-Mamay of East Hampton uses honey instead

Laurie Trujillo-Mamay of East Hampton uses honey instead of mirin, or Japanese sweet cooking rice wine, in her sesame noodles. It makes the noodles "a little bit sweeter, less bland and not vinegary," she says. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Trujillo-Mamay owns Hamptons Foodie, a mobile kitchen that she takes to Sagg Main Beach in the summer. She lives in East Hampton, with her husband and daughter.

How long have you been cooking?

Since I was little. I moved here from California 27 years ago. I cooked for family and friends. They always said, you've got to open a restaurant, or do catering. About 11 years ago, we were camping out in Montauk, and a lady was selling her food truck. I looked at it and that was it. It was a chance to make all the California-style food-truck food I had loved before I moved east.

How does your home cooking differ from your food-truck cooking?

On the truck, everything has to be quick and not too labor-intensive. At home I do more comfort food, stuff that takes a little longer. Lasagna, enchiladas, tamales. But at home and at work, I just make stuff that I love, whether it's Mexican, Asian, Californian. Sometimes I make something at home that will eventually make it onto the truck in a different form. A while ago I made biscuits and gravy, which would be really hard to serve out of a truck. A friend said, "Why don't you make them into pockets for the truck?" so I'm working on that.

Does where you live affect how you cook?

I love the beach. I love watching kids who work for me or buy lunch from me grow up there over the summers. I love seeing their faces and when they try something new of mine. I get such a thrill when someone says, "I've been waiting all winter for your lobster roll." So my customers definitely inspire me.

What is special about your sesame noodle recipe?

A lot of recipes call for mirin, which is Japanese sweet wine. Some recipes call for sugar and water. I use honey instead. So my noodles are a little bit sweeter, less bland and not vinegary.

A lot of recipes call for rinsing the noodles. Why don't you like to rinse?

I don't rinse because when you rinse the noodles they tend not to absorb the dressing. Unrinsed noodles really soak it up. And then I refrigerate them for up to 10 days (the soy sauce is a preservative) and they keep absorbing flavor. You can serve them cold, or you can heat them up in a skillet, basically stir-frying them, for a warm dish.

 

SESAME NOODLES

1 pound pasta (either linguini or spaghetti)

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup sesame oil

1 teaspoon minced ginger

1/2 cup chopped scallions, white and light green parts

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, in a small bowl combine soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and ginger.

2. Drain pasta but do not rinse. Place in a large bowl, add soy sauce mixture, and toss a couple of times. Let noodles sit in dressing and cool down for 10 minutes.

3. Add scallions, carrots, and cabbage and toss again before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to 10 days. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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