braised shiitake mushrooms

so far, 120 pages into gael greene's insatiable memoir, and already she's been fed by pierre franey and craig claiborne at mr. claiborne's weekend house, eaten and drank her way through the menu at world famous maison troisgros, and dished up a few star romps with elvis and clint eastwood to name just a pot-au-feu. the iconic new york magazine food critic and her spicy-nothing-left-to-imagine tales of table and trysts leave me wanting more with every page turn. ms greene, who can ignite or skewer the success of a restaurant, also co-founded citymeals-on-wheels with james beard, a program that feeds millions of home-bound, elderly new yorkers every year.
           in her account, ms. greene's indulgences in food and sex are stewed together like tandem appetites that must feast from a gourmet menu . . . i quote her, as she quoted william blake: "you never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough".  at one point yesterday, i did finally push back from the table, her delicious excess having fed my head more high calorie descriptions than i could possibly digest. i simply could not keep up with her. so i approached the kitchen last night with a healthy-less-is-more dinner plan meant to counter-balance ms. greene's baroque bill of fare that was eating at my brain cells.
turning once again to soei yoneda for inspiration in her book, zen vegetarian cooking, i began with the woody flavor of braised shiitake mushrooms cooked simply with just three other ingredients. i paired them with steelhead trout, a white wine reduction, and pickled peppers. these mushrooms would also serve with a crisp white wine as a stunning starter. the taste is the salty-earthy richness of a food-beggars banquet.
be sure to save the liquid from the pot after reconstituting the dried shiitake mushrooms . . . use it to make soup or add to a reduction sauce.
one tablespoon of soy sauce and one tablespoon of sake make the perfect flavor balance for reconstituted shiitakes.

• 1 tsp. vegetable oil
• 12 medium sized dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted and the stems cut off
• 1 tbl. saké
• 1 tbl. soy sauce
1. to reconstitute the mushrooms, simmer in about 3/4 " of water set to boil. simmer for about five min.
2. heat the oil in a skillet over med. flame. add the mushrooms and saute on each side for a total of three min.
3. add the saké and soy sauce and cook another 15 seconds on each side.

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