Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms

Green Beans are one of my favorite vegetables and Shitake Mushrooms are by far my favorite kind of mushrooms. So when I put them together, I am happy to eat this dish. I season them with a delightful combination of butter and Tamari, which if you haven't put together yet, you should.  Shitakes have a wonderful meaty texture and contribute the wonderful Umami flavor, which is boosted by the Tamari. Plus, Shitake Mushrooms have great medicinal value in both Western and Chinese Medicine. Most recently, studies have found that they contain lentinan that has anti-cancer and anti-viral properties. These amazing mushrooms also lower cholesterol and contain Vitamin D. In Chinese Medicine, they are good for respiratory diseases, increase blood flow, assist the liver and boost Qi if you are tired or weak.  But most important to me is that they taste so good. Green Beans have medicinal properties as well:   They cool heat and fever and moisten the internal organs. So when you eat this dish, remember that it is edible and delicious medicine!  
Green Beans and Shitake Mushrooms

2 pounds slender green beans, ends removed
8 ounces fresh Shitake Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced into thin strips
4 Tablespoons Butter
2  large garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, sliced thin
½ cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Tamari
Fresh Ground Pepper

Melt 2 Tablespoons of the butter in a nonstick frying pan.  Add the Shitake Mushrooms and cook until tender.  Put into a bowl.  Then add the remaining butter to the pan and put in the garlic and shallots and cook until you can just smell the fragrance and the shallots become a bit translucent. Add in the green beans and put in the chicken broth.  Cover with a lid and cook until the green beans are tender and the chicken broth is nearly evaporated.  If they are not yet done and need more liquid, add in a little more chicken broth and cook until as tender as you like.  Stir in the mushrooms and add the Tamari and fresh ground pepper. Toss to coat and serve.

Five Element Analysis

Green Beans belong to the Wood Element so that element is covered and the Chicken Broth contributes even more. Shitakes are a combination of the Water Element and the Metal Element because of their Umami flavor.  The garlic and shallots add even more Metal and the Tamari contributes more Water.  The pepper brings in just a touch of the Fire Element but the Earth Element is missing. So, serve this with an Earthy food, like a main dish containing beef or if you want a vegetarian meal, serve with some Earth vegetables like Squash or Cabbage. And, don't forget to add some chili to increase the Fire Element or serve with hot tea to create a Five Element balance.

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