I took stock of my kitchen this morning and realized that I had an abundance of mustards in my fridge. I don't know how we accumulate mustard--there is Dennis' favorite honey mustard, a spicey mustard, the regular French's, a German mustard I bought because I liked the jar, whole grain dijon and regular dijon. Then there is the rustic mustard in a crock produced in France. You can't find it anymore, I first saw it at Dennis' Uncle Lorenzo's house in Quebec.
Mustard is a condiment that I've savored ever since I was a kid. My brother and sisters adored ketchup, but I was a fan of the bright yellow stuff ubequitious at picnics and campfire roasts. It is the flavor of summer to me. I've often felt alone in a world populated by salsa freaks and other red condiment lovers. Until a few Sundays ago at a church potluck where a youngish father of four cut in line in front of me to squeeze a generous portion of French's on his hotdog. He zipped away with a huge grin on his face, as though life could not get better than this. And I remembered that child-like zeal I for balony on white bread with as much mustard slathered on as it could hold. The sandwich was a vehicle for the mustard, not the usual other way around.
Nowadays, I am more temperate in my affection for mustard. I downplay my preference but it is always there in just about every meal I prepare. These days, it seems I have a garlic-dijon-tarragon flavor combination fixation. I found packages of fresh Tarragon, regularly priced at $2.29 on sale for $.29 each. I grabbed up the last four on the shelf, Dennis thought I was crazy. He hasn't noticed yet the tarragon/mustard/garlic profile showing up in all my salads I've made since then--potato salad, ham and pea salad, marinated four bean salad, and the salad I made up to take to the Fourth of July barbeque at Joanne and John's house.
Today I have a new one--a brown rice salad with lentils. Usually I don't like rice or brown rice for that matter. Salads made of them tend towards blandness and dryness that I find repelling. But this one worked. I used a lot of vegetables I had on hand that needed to be used before they went bad.
Brown Rice Salad
In a rice cooker, cook two cups raw brown rice with enough water to cover by a half inch and a table spoon of Better than Bouillion vegetable bouillion. After it has cooked, transfer to a large bowl, fluff with a fork and let it cool. Add one drained can of Westbrae's organic lentils and fluff together. Add one cup of each: chopped red pepper, chopped yellow pepper, chopped tomato, chopped mushrooms, chopped yellow onion (soaked in water and salt to remove bitterness and drained) and one can of drained artichoke hearts in water, chopped.
Make the vinegerette as follows: In a small bowl whisk together juice of three limes, four pressed garlic cloves, an eighth of a cup of dijon mustard, four tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, two tablespoons Heinz tarragon vinegar, three tablespoons minced fresh tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour vinegerette over rice mixture in the bowl and mix well.