Nick and Cheryl Platco

Nick and Cheryl Platco

It was in 2009 that Nick Platco and Cheryl Bastian found themselves single and consider entering the dating game. It was through Match.com they made a connection. As either of them did not submit a photo along with their profiles, there was hesitation to connect and meet.

Cheryl’s thoughts kept returning to this man she matched with. Nick was fascinated by her interest in science and music. As it turned out, Nick is an astronomer, and Cheryl is a microbiologist. Both also have a deep interest in music.

Nick received his master’s degree from Penn State. For 35 years, he taught science at Twin Valley High School. In 2005, he received a doctorate degree from Temple and began a second career teaching at Penn State. Cheryl was a microbiologist at Merck for 31 years. Both had more than a passing interest in music.

They finally did arrange a meeting, and it turned out to be a good connection. They married in 2012, blending their families. Nick has two daughters, and Cheryl has a son and a daughter. Between them, there are four grandchildren.

Nick and his sister, Patricia, hail from the Phoenixville area. He spent his childhood days there before leaving for college. Cheryl and her two siblings come from Trexlertown located in Lehigh County.

Outside of her family, music is Cheryl’s passion. She adds her lovely voice to many groups as well as solos. She is proficient at the organ and the piano. For the past 17 years, she has been the musical director at St. Helena Church in Blue Bell. For the last 15 years, Cheryl has headed the church’s holiday presentation. Each season, this combines music and voices from many different sources.

Nick plays quite a few stringed instruments. His specialties are the dulcimer and the mandolin. He is busy refining the schedule for the second annual Afternoon of Music. This is a mix of many different musical sections. It is scheduled for Oct. 13 starting at 4 p.m. at Parkside United Church of Christ in Phoenixville. The event is opened to the public, along with a social gathering following, which is free to the public.

I first met the Platcos through a group known as the Kitchen Club. This culinary gathering meets at Parkside Church the second Tuesday of the months September through May. Together the group prepares, cooks and shares the selection of the night. The growing group is opened to the any interested persons (by reservations). For additional information, email Judy Gelinas at smilekeep@verizon.net.

It was in 2005 Nick started to watch on television what was the dawn of today’s food and culinary arts.

A while back, my "Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen” put out a challenge to come up with an original recipe using certain ingredients. Well, Nick came up with the winner, and we are sharing it with you.

THAI CHICKEN with PEANUT SAUCE

PEANUT SAUCE

1 cup chicken stock (unsalted)

1 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 cup chunky peanut butter

1 tsp. light brown sugar

½ tsp. grated ginger

½ tsp. minced garlic

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Microwave for one minute or until peanut butter melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add more stock if sauce is too thick. Set peanut sauce aside in smaller bowl.

CHICKEN MEATBALLS

1½ pounds ground chicken

1 medium onion (chopped and sautéed)

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. minced ginger

2 cups chopped cabbage (sautéed in oil for 10 minutes)

⅔ cup no bake noodles (finely ground in food processor)

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Chopped scallions

Mix all ingredients together and make into ¾-inch meatballs. Bake meatballs on lightly oiled baking tray at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Insert toothpicks. Sprinkle with finely chopped scallions, and serve with peanut dipping sauce.

Enjoy!

Let Bette hear from you: banjack303@verizon.net. Search YouTube for “Look Who’s Cooking with Bette Banjack,” as well phoenixvillenews.com (search bar: Banjack) for this column. Find Bette on Facebook by searching “Bette Banjack’s Downtown Kitchen.” Her book, “2 Cups of Yesterday,” is available at Gateway Pharmacy or by contacting her.

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