LIMA — Sherry Krouse, an office assistant at Childers Media Group, gets a lot of requests for the pasta salad she shares today.
Once, it was even a prize at a company auction.
Krouse has been making it at least 10 years, and the details on its beginnings are fuzzy.
“I don’t even know where I found it,” she said.
But she has perfected it over years of trial and error. She remembers the original recipe called for frozen pasta, but she likes dried pasta just fine. She said fresh pasta doesn’t seem to hold up very well in the dressing.
You could adjust the taste of this salad easily by adding more peppers or using different veggies. She likes the crunch of the bell peppers, especially when they’re chilled. Krouse added the jalapeno-stuffed olives, something she had in her pantry, on a whim.
“I just felt it was lacking a little snap,” she said. “You’ve got to be careful, though, because some of those are hotter than others.”
She recommends adding perhaps three chopped olives to your salad and taste-testing to check the heat level.
Another recommendation: Caesar dressing is her favorite because of the anchovy flavor, but it has to be the type that looks separated in the bottle. It can be hard to find, she warned. In a pinch, use Greek or Italian.
“Any kind of a viniagrette that has a good, strong flavor,” Krouse said.
Cooking is a lifelong passion for Krouse.
“I’ll take a recipe … and I’ll take it and I’ll make it. And sometimes I’m not real nuts about it, and I’ll try to mess with it. … Sometimes I hit delete and just give up on it.
“I find (cooking) to be gratifying and fun. It’s kind of my therapy,” she said.
These days, Krouse keeps all her recipes on her iPad. She has left behind her recipe box.
“I can take them with me where I go,” she said. “Plus, I want to leave a legacy for my kids.”
Krouse encouraged everyone to cook if they don’t already.
“There are so many resources,” she said, explaining it’s easy to find help online. “I just think it’s just so easy in this day and age.”
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