Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet, Caramelized Butternut Squash, & Kale Salad

Happy Birthday, Wheat!

We had a birthday dinner for Wheat last night.  We didn’t invite anybody except for Harold, who begged the entire time. #rude

Ribeye with Sauteed Onions & Shiitakes, Kale Salad, & Caramelized Butternut Squash | Oysters & Pearls

This might have been the freshest, most seasonal, most local, most delicious meal we’ve had in quite some time.

The menu consisted of a ribeye from Jones Meats in Climax, along with a tasty combination of locally grown and organic Shiitake mushrooms, onion, kale, and butternut squash (all from our Farm to Table box from Harvest Moon).

I know you wanna know the recipes for everything, so here goes:

Steak in a Cast Iron Skillet

for a 1-inch thick ribeye (the cut we always get):

Heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet that is big enough to fit your steaks comfortably over medium high heat (without anything in it).  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bring your steaks to room temperature and salt and pepper them with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.  I use a Misto to lightly oil the steaks after patting the salt and pepper into them.  Just don’t get crazy with the oil – you only need a little bit.  And you can use olive oil, vegetable oil, canola oil – whatever you’ve got on hand.  (I used olive oil, but would prefer vegetable or canola or something with a higher smoke point.  I was just out of it!)

Once your skillet is hot, place your steaks in the skillet and sear them.  They will stick at first, but will release themselves when they are seared.  Just sort of grab them with your tongs a wee bit and try to move them around.  If they don’t move, they aren’t seared.  Once they do move, flip the steaks with tongs and then put the entire skillet in your preheated oven.  Leave it there for six minutes for a medium rare steak, or until the internal temperature is around 135 – 140 degrees Fahrenheit with a meat thermometer.  When it is, remove the steaks from the skillet and place on a plate or platter and cover with foil for somewhere between 5 to 10 minutes to rest.

For rare steak, remove them from the oven when the internal temp is 130 degrees.
For medium steak, remove them from the oven when the internal temperature is 150 degrees (around 8 minutes).
For well-done steaks, remove them from the oven when the internal temperature is 160 to 165 degrees.

I don’t know times for these really, because I’ve only been practicing medium rare.  The medium steak was a practicing accident, but still delicious. :)

I recommend one of our favorite wines with your steak: Seven Deadly Zins.  It’s a (red) Zinfandel and it’s delicious!

Sauteed Shiitake Mushrooms and Onion

Head some butter in a skillet over medium heat until melted.  Mince a couple cloves of garlic and add them to the butter.  Cook until the garlic is browned, but not burned.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until soft and most of the butter has been absorbed.  Serve on top of delicious steak.

Caramelized Butternut Squash, Kale Salad, and Ribeye Cooked in a Cast Iron Skillet | Oysters & Pearls

Caramelized Butternut Squash
slightly adapted from the most recent Southern Living Magazine


– one small butternut squash
– 1/4 stick of butter (4 tablespoons)
– 2 tablespoons light brown sugar


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Wash the squash (lol) and cut in half lengthwise, then again crosswise.  Score the flesh with a sharp knife in a diamond pattern.

Melt the butter in a measuring cup.  Add the brown sugar and mix until melted and combined.  Using a pastry brush, brush half the mixture over the flesh side of the squash.  Place squash flesh down in a foil lined rimmed baking pan.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes.  Using tongs, turn squash over (flesh side up) and brush the rest of the mixture over the squash.  Bake at 450 for another 12 minutes.  Turn the oven to Broil (HI) for 3 to 4 minutes, or until well caramelized.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

DELICIOUS.  And so, so simple.

Ribeye Cooked in Cast Iron, Sauteed Shiitakes & Onion, with Kale Salad & Caramelized Butternut Squash | Oysters & Pearls

On the other side of the plate, we had Smitten Kitchen’s famous kale salad.  I say famous because I heard Deb on NPR recently discussing this very salad.  In my nerd book, if you are on NPR, you are most definitely famous.

Smitten Kitchen Kale Salad
the SoWeGa version


– 1 bunch kale (duh)
–  1/2 cup golden raisins
– 1/4 cup pecans
– 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (lazy girl’s version of breadcrumbs)
– 1 tablespoon tarragon white wine vinegar (because it’s what I had)
– 1 tablespoon water
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– the juice of one lemon
– 1 cup (ish) of shaved pecorino romano cheese (with a microplane, because it’s fluffy and I like it that way)


Rip the spines (stems) out of the kale leaves.  Stack the leaves all on top of each other, roll them up long-ways, and cut into thin strips (aka chiffonade them).  Throw the kale in a big bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once.  Or put them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and toss often, until fragrant.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the vinegar and water.  Bring to a simmer until almost all the liquid is gone and the raisins are re-hydrated, then take off the heat, cover, and set aside until ready to put the salad together.

Toss the raisins and their liquid (or what’s left), the cheese, the pecans, and the panko bread crumbs together, along with the juice of the lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dash of the vinegar.

All I can tell you is that it’s the best kale I’ve ever eaten.

I can see why it made a believer out of Deb.

Smitten Kitchen Kale Salad | Oysters & Pearls

Topped off with a leftover lemon vanilla cupcake, this was one pretty sweet birthday meal for my favorite birthday boy.

I encourage you to try one or all of these sometime soon!  You will not regret it.

Happy Birthday (again) Wheat!

Also, hiding in these pictures is a preview of tomorrow’s post.  I can’t wait! :)


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