We wanted one more fun adventure before school was back in session, and travel was once again restricted by the school schedule. We chose a ghost town as our destination – Rush, Arkansas, which we first heard about when we were out for dinner at a local restaurant, and our waiter had just returned from the uninhabited town. Zinc carbonate ore was discovered in the late 1880’s, which resulted in many mines being built, and the town growing to support the workers and their families. At its height, Rush was said to have 5000 people living there. After World War 1 the bottom fell out of the zinc market and the mines were abandoned. The buildings date from the early 1900’s and were inhabited until the 1960’s.
We investigated the deserted homes, which immensely disappointed my youngest, who was expecting something more like the Wild West – with tall buildings you could walk in and out of, and tumble weeds blowing down a dusty street.
We then drove on a little further and found a beautiful, peaceful spot in a campground by the Buffalo River, spread out a picnic and enjoyed a lovely lunch. After we had eaten, my husband and I relaxed on a blanket while the kids played near by, doing cartwheels, exploring the river bank and attempting to catch fish in the net we had bought along the way when we stopped at a Dollar General for the mayonnaise I needed to mix into the chicken salad. We finished our restful day with a short walk around the well sign posted ruins of the mines and buildings.
TARRAGON WALNUT CHICKEN SALAD
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons walnut oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
lettuce leaves for serving
Place chicken in a large pot, add enough water to cover chicken. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, simmer 15 minutes or until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken from liquid, cool and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
In a small bowl, blend together mayonnaise and sour cream, stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in walnut oil until blended. Stir in chopped tarragon, walnuts and apricots, mix well. Stir in the chicken, cover and refrigerate.
Place lettuce on plates, top with chicken salad.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Pleasures, April/May 2002