Crushed New Potatoes with Fresh Peas and Mustard Seed Dressing...and a tour of Eureka Springs

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This summer, I took advantage of all of the sugar snap peas flooding the markets to  look for a few recipes that would highlight their delicate flavor.  

I knew we would eat our fill of cakes and sweets while down at the lake, so I wanted to make a potato salad that was lighter and healthier than the traditional recipe which calls for lots of caloric mayonnaise.

This crushed potato pea salad is a snap to make.  The toasted mustard seeds, shallots, and dijon mustard give the dish that tang that tastes so good, while the yogurt adds the creaminess we all like in a potato salad.

I really enjoy when I can take a recipe that is laden with calories and find a substitute recipe that tastes fresh and flavorful. This one is definitely bookmarked for my summertime side dishes.  It is a great do-ahead dish that continues to become more flavorful a few days after it is made.
One of the highlights of our vacation down at Table Rock Lakes in Southern Missouri is always the barbecue meals we enjoy.  On this trip, we discovered a hidden treat tucked deep into the northern Arkansas hill country.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas is a vibrant little town that is bursting with artsy shops, quaint neighborhoods oozing with charm, and plenty of restaurants offering all sorts of tantalizing cuisines.

The shopping in Eureka Springs is truly a highlight of this town.  Art galleries are tucked into charming buildings filled with impressive artisanal delights.  These are not small town trinkety fare, but truly hand-crafted pieces of high caliber.

There were so many shops, art galleries, and restaurants that looked so appealing that one day in this little jewel of a find wasn't nearly enough to truly delve into the layers of what this southern town has to offer.

At times, I felt like I was in a Norman Rockwell scene.  But, at other times, the scenes playing out in this  hip little town made me feel like I was in my old college stomping ground in the Village in NYC.  Eureka Springs also has that same ambience as Woodstock, NY.

The pace in Eureka Springs is hip, artsy, relaxed, and entertaining.  The people were charming, welcoming and laid back.  There is so much do in this town a full weekend is necessary to touch all of its offerings.  

The shops were humming.  Flower boxes, hanging plentiful off of window sills, spilled colorful arrangements onto the sidewalks.  This candy shop {above} definitely caught my eye and all I can say about it is the chocolate turtles were deliciously gooey and soft.

But when we left the hum of entertaining shops, lined up one after the other, and ventured out into the neighborhoods of Eureka Springs, more delightful scenes were tucked around every nook and corner.

One charming bed and breakfast after another beckoned the foot weary shopper onto its cool and relaxing porches.  Fans stirred lazily and wicker furniture was artfully arranged with plump pillows, ready to take in those tuckered out by the delights of the town.

There is definitely an attitude about Eureka Springs.  Laid back and cheeky, this town knows how to create an environment that merges cool and trendy with sleepy and casual.

The Crescent Hotel features a ghost tour.  Day Spas are numerous and tempting.  You could jump on a trolley tour that weaves in and out of the town as well as the neighborhood areas.

I think my favorite was meandering up and down the quiet, lush, old-fashioned neighborhoods.  The tranquil atmosphere and the adorable homes  would be  perfect for a quiet weekend stay.

Crushed New Potato and Pea Salad with Mustard Seed Dressing

1 pound new potatoes
3/4 cup fresh shelled peas
3/4 teaspoon black or brown mustard seed 
3 tablespoons plain yogurt, optional
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or chives

1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until almost tender, about 20 minutes. Drop in the peas and cook until they are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a small, dry skillet, toast the mustard seeds until they just begin to pop, about 1 minute. Transfer to a small bowl. Whisk in the yogurt, mustard, shallot, salt, and pepper. Place the warm potatoes and peas in a large bowl and gently crush the potatoes (they should remain almost whole). Add the dressing and olive oil and toss to combine. Fold in mint. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve warm or cold.

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