Smoke Alarm Steak Salad

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Smoke Alarm Steak Salad (AKA Superfood Bowl)

We have been traveling to Antigua Guatemala fairly frequently over the past several years.  Six weeks in Seattle, a month in Antigua…it is a nice routine that allows me time at home with my family and friends combined with another life of speaking Spanish, sunny weather, volunteering, and living a simple life.

Before each trip I play a game with myself to see if I can use all the fruits, vegetables and perishable/non-freezable items in my refrigerator and cupboards.  There are potatoes and sweet potatoes to deal with, lemons and limes (I zest and squeeze and freeze these), etc. By the time I leave I am generally down to the bare nubbins and I give the remaining usable items to my kids.  

This is how my deconstructed salad came to be.  I had walked the Greenlake path with my friend Barri a couple days before, and we had lunch at Retreat.  I ordered a Chicken and Greens superfood bowl that was really good and contained a lot of the ingredients I ended up using to create my own version at home.  This turned out to be spectacular, if I do say so myself! 

I used sliced steak since I hadn’t had a speck of meat in months, and I had a tiny bit of meat in my freezer.  This is where the title of this recipe comes in. I pulled out my trusty cast iron pan to grill up the steak and, for the first time in recent memory, set off my smoke alarm. Which wouldn’t be such a big to do. However … my daughter in law was here when I made this salad and she told my son Jake about it. So he decided to try it out and wouldn’t you know it – he set off his smoke alarm as well. So – voila … “Smoke Alarm Steak Salad.” but I digress…

If you don’t have (or eat) steak, leftover grilled chicken would be more than fine as well.  Pickled onions and roasted sunflower seeds are always in my fridge, cherry tomatoes came from Jakey Boy’s garden, arugula had been hanging out in my vegetable drawer and I had an odd sweet potato that I peeled, cubed small and tossed with olive oil and chili powder.  

This balsamic salad dressing is one that I make often, here and away from home.  It makes a lot and is simple (requires no kitchen equipment) and the balsamic vinegar doesn’t need to be top drawer.  Keep this dressing recipe handy in your fridge because it keeps for weeks on end.  In fact, I always make a batch at the beginning of a stay in Antigua.  

Accidental Superfood Bowls

Per person for a superfood bowl

Salad Ingredients:
  • Sliced steak or sliced grilled chicken, hot or cold-a handful
  • 2 handfuls of fresh arugula
  • ¾ cup fresh cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • About 1 tablespoon pickled red onions 
  • ¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds (toasted chopped nuts would also work here)
  • ½ raw sweet potato 
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh herbs (this could be cilantro, dill, basil, tarragon, whatever your heart desires)
Balsamic Dressing Ingredients
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp stone ground mustard
  • ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil

For the sweet potatoes – peel and cut into ⅓ inch cubes then toss with olive oil, chili pepper and salt.  Roast at 425 degrees on a foil-lined cookie sheet in your toaster oven for 15 minutes or until brown and soft in the center.  Cool. 

For the dressing, whisk all ingredients together, taste and add more honey or vinegar if needed.  Store in a jar in the fridge for up to a month.  Makes about 1 ¼ cups.

I combine the salad ingredients in sections and toss it together as I eat it.  Drizzle with the dressing.

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