At the Ta­ble with Nick & Ch­eryl Platco

The Phoenix - - COMMUNITY - 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

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!

Nick and Ch­eryl Platco

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