Recipes From the Lenoir County Farmers Market Super Saturday

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As promised, here are the recipes from a great day at the Lenoir County Farmers Market. Friends and fans from all over, were in attendance to watch Vivian Howard and her sister Leraine Howard Tolston showcase some of their favorite new, and old recipes. Visitors also enjoyed the shopping the bounty of our local farmers and a wide array of artists and authors. In case you missed out on your copy of the recipes, here are some of them. Enjoy and remember Buy Local!!!

Party Magnet Cheese Ball

Recipe from Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South


  • ¼ cup high-quality blue cheese (I like Maytag)
  • ⅓ cup (5½ tablespoons) butter
  • ¼ cup fresh goat cheese
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (both white and green parts work here)
  • ½ teaspoon hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup Salt-and-Butter-Roasted Pecans (recipe below), roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley


  • 2 cups pecan halves or pieces
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided


For the cheese ball

  1. Take the blue cheese, butter, goat cheese, and cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften 30 minutes before making your cheese-ball mixture.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except for the pecans and parsley. Paddle it up till homogenous. It will be loose and sticky and you’ll wonder how you’re ever going to form that mess into a ball. The answer is, you transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. During that time the cheese mix will firm up enough for you to pat it into a sphere. Once it’s stiff enough to hold up, form the ball and roll that ball in the pecans, followed by parsley.

For the salt-and-butter-roasted pecans

  1. Preheat your oven to 350º F. Toss the pecans thoroughly with the melted butter and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and slide that sheet onto the middle rack of your oven. Roast the pecans for 11 minutes if using whole pecans and 10 minutes if you’re using pieces.
  2. Bring the slightly darkened and toasty-smelling pecans out of the oven and hit them with the remaining salt. Let them cool 5 minutes before you eat them. These will keep for 7 days in an airtight container at room temperature. Yields one large cheese ball or two small ones.

Chambord Sweet Potato Cake

Recipe from Leraine Tolston


  • 3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ lb., butter softened
  • 12 large eggs
  • 4 lb. sweet potatoes, baked and pureed
  • ½ cup Chambord
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon allspice
  • 1½ cup grated apple
  • 1½ tsp. ginger
  • 4 8 ounce cream cheese blocks, softened
  • 1 pound butter softened
  • 4 pounds powdered sugar
  • ½ cup Chambord, more if desired


  1. Cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in pureed sweet potatoes, apples, Chambord. In another pan whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. Stir in sweet potato mixture until combined. Divide between pans and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  2. Mix cream cheese, butter, Chambord together, add powdered sugar, beat until well mixed. Ice cakes.

Yields 2-3 layer cakes.

Autumn Quinoa Salad


  • 1½ cup quinoa
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can dark red kidney beans
  • ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley


  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the quinoa and salt to taste, Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the water has been absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in green onions, carrot, and peas, and set aside to come to room temperature.
  3. Add the beans, peanuts, cranberries, oil, vinegar, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Variation Substitute cooked or brown rice for the quinoa, or a different type of nut in place of the peanuts

Apple-Cheddar-Butternut Squash Soup


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 large white potato, diced
  • 1 ½ cups chopped peeled butternut squash, fresh (or frozen)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup apple cider
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 ounces thinly sliced cooked country ham, chopped
  • 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • Chopped chives, for topping


  1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-low heat and add the onion, apples, potato, and squash. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in sage and flour. Add the cider and cook over high heat, stirring, until thickened. Add the broth and milk cover and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring until the potato is soft, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the country ham pieces until crisp. Allow to cool and drain on paper towels. Chop into fine pieces (I used a small electric chopper)
  3. Add the cheese to the soup and stir over medium-low heat until melted. Puree using an immersion blender in small batches until smooth, but not too thin; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with ham, more cheese, and chives.

Serves 4.