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4 years, 7 months ago Comments Off on LIFE IS JUST A BOWL OF CHERRIES

Cherries jubilee or even a cherry pie, tart, or cobbler all quickly pop to mind when debating what to make using the stone fruit. In fact, any number of sweet desserts seems an obvious choice to go with if you were given 40 lbs. of Rainier cherries from which to create a dish. However, in commemoration of National Rainier Cherry Day which fell on July 11, Forte Chef Nina Manchev avoided the obvious route and went for the savory choice.

Northwest Cherries commissioned one restaurant in each state to create a unique menu offering that would feature Rainier cherries, a cross between the Bing and Van cultivars. Forte, a European tapas bar and bistro located at 4180 S. Rainbow Blvd, got the nod for Nevada. Chef Nina decided on a Berkshire Pork Chop with a topping of Rainier Cherry Compote and paired with Truffle Butter Mashed Potatoes. After trying the dish, we wish National Rainier Cherry Day was more than just once a year. The flavor combination of the sweet compote with the savory taste of the protein was a brilliant pairing.

“I had been dying to use the Berkshire (pork chops) so this seemed like the time to do it. And because there’s almost like a sweet flavor to the meat, I knew it would be a good pairing with the cherries,” explained Chef Nina of the fruit famed for its crisp bite and pale yellow flesh bursting with sweetness.

“I wanted to mix sweet and savory. And then the truffle in the potatoes added decadence,” says the 25-year-old chef who is self-taught in the ways of the kitchen. “It was definitely an interesting addition to our dinner menu, it’s a little more unique and stands out. We already have a Berkshire Truffle Sausage on our menu so I thought it would fit in well with our concept.”

Forte opened in August 2009, and is a “fusion concept that ranges from Western European to Eastern European. It is mainly home cooking, stuff I grew up on, I didn’t want it to be one type of cuisine. People have the misconception that it’s heavy, starchy food,” the chef explained of Forte’s menu.

Chef Nina still has a few mason jars of the cherry compote left if you want to go try her dish. And should you want to make your own, Northwest cherry season lasts until the end of August.

To learn more about Northwest Cherries’ Tree-to-Table, visit and to find out what’s on the menu at Forte go to


For the Berkshire Pork Chop:
Instructions: Season four Berkshire Pork Chops with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; leave covered with plastic wrap aside in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Grill 7 minutes per side.

For the Rainier Cherry Compote:
3 cups Rainier cherries, halved and pitted
3 T-spoons honey
3 T-spoons sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
16 oz. water
Instructions: In small saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Take off the fire and chill to release juices.

For the Truffle Butter Mashed Potatoes:
4 medium size potatoes
4 oz. unsalted butter
sea salt
8 oz. black truffle butter
Peel four medium size potatoes. Slice thick and put them in a pot. Add 4 oz. unsalted butter, water and sea salt, boil until fork tender. Mash the potatoes, add the truffle butter, spreading vigorously.

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