1.Reconstitute dried mushrooms for most recipes by placing the mushrooms in a cup or bowl.
2.Fill the container about halfway.
3.Cover the mushrooms with boiling water.
4.Cover the container with plastic wrap to prevent steam from escaping.
5.Steep for 5 to 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
6.Strain the water, but don't discard it; it's very flavorful and can be used in your recipe.
7.Chop the mushrooms into small pieces and use them in the recipe as directed.
8.For a drier dish, such as stuffing or a casserole, simmer the steeping water for a few minutes to concentrate the flavors and reduce the volume a little, then add it to your dish. Add the water directly to any liquid dish, such as soup or sauce. Strain the liquid or pour it off carefully if the mushrooms contained grit.
Dried mushrooms can also be used to make a seasoning powder. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 250 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes to remove the last traces of moisture. Then grind the mushrooms in a food processor or spice mill. Sift out the larger pieces, and use the fine powder as a seasoning for seafood, gravies and soups.
Dried mushrooms are available in most large markets and specialty stores. Dried shiitake, morel, chanterelle and porcini mushrooms are commonly available, as are blends of several varieties. Experiment to find the flavors you like best. Dried mushrooms can be expensive, but shiitake and other Asian dried mushrooms are much cheaper at Asian markets than at supermarkets.
Use reconstituted dried mushrooms or seasoning powder as an enhancement in any recipe that calls for fresh mushrooms. Add the dried mushrooms early in the recipe so that they have time to cook and blend in.