Though my sister’s first name is Alina, we call her Pa, because her middle name is Sopha (pronounced as Soh-Pah), and a household with a Vina and an Alina can get confusing.
She wears cut-off jean shorts and ripped stockings, I wear dresses and cardigans. Her friends throw house parties with drinking games and raucous music, my friends throw potluck dinners with movie nights and board games. She doesn’t care for scallops or French toast; those are two of my favorite things. I hate Ranch dressing; Pa pours it on her pizza.
Pa is a night owl, hanging out with her friends until the pre-dawn hours, and therefore is grumpy when I blast music in the morning. You remember what I said about those people who need a solid hour before they stop answering in one-worded grunts? She’s one of them.
Despite our differences and the eight years between us, Pa is one of my favorite people in the world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her, short of murdering someone (even then I might consider it, depending on the situation). She is my number one road dog.
Ch-beef salad is not just a salad, it is a way of lunch. To make ch-beef salad is to rummage through the kitchen, eating in front of the television, her on one couch, me on the other, and then napping afterward. This salad’s namesake comes from that time we bought a chicken steak and noticed that the label said ch-beef. The name stuck.
Ch-beef salad changes every time we make it. The protein might not always be beef, but it always has avocado and corn. It wouldn’t be ch-beef salad without avocado and corn, just as I would not be Vina without Pa.
CH-BEEF SALAD: corn, half of a red onion, sliced, 1-2 avocados, sliced, romaine lettuce or other salad greens, chopped, 1 lb. flank steak, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, olive oil, fresh lime juice, 1 clove garlic, smashed, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, sliced, and kosher salt and cracked black pepper.
Marinate steak with paprika, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Sear steak to desired doneness, about five minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to plate, let rest for five minutes. Slice into strips. In a skillet, sauté corn and red onion in a skillet over medium heat, until some of the kernels are toasted and onion is translucent.
In a salad bowl, toss salad greens with olive oil and lime juice. Add corn, avocado, steak, cilantro, and season to taste. Don’t forget that nap.