Several years ago, Mr. Tess and a friend decided to grow shiitake mushrooms. No, not with one of those kits you set up in your basement. They did lots of research (something like this pdf link), cut logs, drilled holes, innoculated them, and I don’t know what all. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I still buy my shiitake at the grocery store. I bought a bag of dried shiitake the other day. They were not the finest donko shiitake, but they were affordable and looked nice. You can see their pretty caps patterned like a tortice shell.
Ms. Shimbo was inspired by Chinese mushroom soups to include this recipe in her book. Best quality dried shiitake mushrooms are soaked and then steamed in chicken stock for an hour. The mushrooms become juicy and chewy, adding a nice flavor to the soup. This soup is really delicious after being refrigerated for a day!