Gaining popularity over the last several years for their power to lower cholesterol and cleanse blood, shiitake mushrooms can be found in just about any natural foods store and gourmet shop. They have an intensely earthy taste, so a few go a long way. It is necessary to soak them until tender, about fifteen to twenty minutes before cooking, and I usually trim off the stem to avoid bitter flavor. They are wonderful in soups, stews, gravies, and sauces and as bouillon flavoring.
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