Lights. Camera. Chicken Bites...
Sometimes life has the most unexpected moments. A moment when you just stop and say, “hang on….let me take this in a second.” This moment happened to me last week as I prepared to be on live television for the first time. The hustle and bustle was surprising, we received all kinds of instructions about what would happen. “Ok, I am ready. Got this. Whew, is it hot in here? I am sweating!”
My cousin and queen of all things jelly was with me to help me prepare so we worked busily beginning the dishes we had rehearsed so many times. Everything was rocking along until I looked for a pan. See, we were only allowed to use the pans in the studio that were specifically for their cooktop. I rummaged for a non-stick pan. There had to be one. Right?? I pulled out everything and took inventory, stock pot, sauce pan, sauté pan. NO NONSTICK PAN!. Panic washed over me. I practiced this recipe at least 20 times in the weeks past. Getting ready for this moment. I knew exactly what to do, that is, I knew exactly what to do with a non-stick pan. I glanced toward the jelly queen. “psst….no nonstick pan! I NEED it for the spicy chicken bites.” She shook her head in sympathy and looked me squarely in the face, “Roll with it! We are live in less than 10 minutes.”
Before I had a chance to absorb what she said t.v. personnel were sweetly buzzing around again. They were hooking us up with microphones and reminding us what camera to look toward and “Oh don’t trip because your microphone is attached to the floor.” Wait, who? ME? I’m sorry, did you say floor? Whoosh they were gone again. Having wisely given Janet the jelly queen the wireless mic because she needed to move around more to help me prep. There I stood, a tangle of wire at my feet. I glanced down and the theme from Deadliest catch lightly played in mind mind….”great! trip and overboard I go I thought!” I hear “We are live in 1 minute” Well, there I was. A sweaty, nervous wreck tied to the floor with no nonstick pan! As they say though, the show must go on and so it did.
Running through ideas in my head I told myself to just add a little extra oil to the pan with a pat of butter and it would work. It had to work. So, I whispered a prayer over chicken bites and pressed on. Though not as smoothly as I had practiced at home we produced spicy chicken bites right there live in living color! When it was all over everyone raved about the food and told us it was great. I was relieved it was over and untied from the floor.
At that moment, I looked around and realized “hey, we did it!” Just like in life sometimes you don’t have exactly what you need when you need it. You won’t always have a nonstick pan. You will have practiced and prepared and told yourself exactly how it would go and it won’t go that way. In those moments, you can find your courage. You may be lucky enough to have a jelly queen nearby to whisper “ROLL WITH IT” and if not, tell it to yourself.
Sometimes you gotta roll with it, say a prayer and wait for the results. When you do, you will be able to step back and say “Whew…we did it!”
Alabama Sunshine Chicken Bites
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken tenders cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 C. Alabama Sunshine hot sauce
2 C. panko bread crumbs
1/4 C grated Romano cheese
kickin' dippin sauce:
1/2 C. Alabama Sunshine cayenne pepper wing sauce
1/2 C. ranch dressing
Mix buttermilk and Alabama Sunshine hot sauce in a deep sided container. Mix panko bread crumbs and grated Romano cheese in a separate container and set aside. Soak boneless, skinless chicken bites in buttermilk and Alabama Sunshine hot sauce mixture for 30 minutes to an hour in the refrigerator. Remove chicken bites one at a time from buttermilk and Alabama Sunshine hot sauce mixture one at a time and dredge in panko bread crumb and Romano cheese mixture. Place chicken bites into a sprayed pan with olive oil. Brown on both sides turning once until Chicken bites are cooked through. Place onto a serving tray. Mix Alabama Sunshine wing sauce with ranch dressing. Serve alongside chicken tenders for dipping.
If you grew up in the South, you know about deviled eggs. If you didn’t, well, mercy! Let me introduce you. Deviled eggs are a wonderfully Southern treat in which a perfectly boiled egg has the inside yolk scooped out and whipped into submission with other wonderful creamy ingredients then scooped back into its perfect yummy white which we can get into later.
You also learn there is a TIME and a PLACE for deviled eggs. You don’t just make deviled eggs on a random Wednesday. There is a reason you make them. Like so many other things I have learned this past year, there is a time for everything! My entrance into the farming world has been a swift. It has been lesson after lesson on how there is a TIME for everything. There was a time to prepare, a time to plant, a time to harvest, and well, you get it, there are a LOT of times that must be tended to if you want results.
As we quickly approach a new planting season I look back at the lessons I have learned about time. When you are presented an opportunity you often try to decide if it’s the right TIME to take action. When you face these decisions, I have learned it’s always best to ask someone who’s been there. When you ask, you learn, and learning is good. For the many lessons, I have learned this year I will be forever grateful. To all the farmers, business owners, faithful friends and good family who have listened and offered advice this year I thank you.
I face the new planting season with new knowledge and skills I never had before! As for those deviled eggs, I know the perfect times for those and I hope you do too! Debut these on your Easter menu…where EVERY perfect deviled egg starts!
Alabama Sunshine Deviled Eggs
12 large eggs
1/4 C mustard
1/2 of an 8oz jar of Alabama Sunshine pepper relish
2TBL Alabama Sunshine Cayenne Hot Sauce (*more if you like spicy, less if not!)
salt and pepper to taste
Bring eggs to a boil (hint...starting eggs in cold water and adding 2TBL of vinegar will prevent eggs from cracking). Boil 5 minutes, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Dunk into ice water to shock and stop cooking (This also allows for easy peeling of the shell). Peel shell from eggs.
Slice freshly peeled eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop yolks out into a separate bowl. Set cooked egg whites aside on a tray. Mix cooked yolks with mayo, mustard, Alabama Sunshine pepper relish and cayenne hot sauce, salt and pepper until yolk mixture is creamy. Spoon/or pipe from piping bag yolk mixture back into egg white halves. ENJOY! Garnish with more hot sauce to spice it up!
Julie Smith Madison , co-owner of Alabama Sunshine