Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Spicing Up Sunday Brunch

In May I gave my friend Kusuma a selection of tomato transplants that I’d grown from seeds. Last week he reciprocated with a gift of a jar of mouth-watering lime relish, which some tender tongues might call “spicy hot” but which I love on crackers as a snack or as a fire-cracker complement to an entree.

Ellen and I love Indian food, though I’m the one who takes spicy-hot lemon pickle when we walk the buffet line at House of India restaurant on Snowden River Parkway in Columbia, our favorite Indian restaurant where for years we’re been cared for by Madhav, who greeted two friends and us Tuesday with a smile and, “Four mango lassis this time too?”  Yes, of course.

I especially welcomed Kusuma’s gift of lime relish because last year’s gift bottle was just about empty, but I didn’t pay much attention to the labels until I put the jars side by side when I was ready to open the new bottle.

Surprise! Last year’s bottle was labeled Patak’s “Lime Relish, Spicy & Chunky, Medium.” This year’s bottle kicked up the heat a few notches: Patak’s “Hot Lime Relish, Spicy & Fruity, Extra Hot.” Was I ready to taste a relish that had two “hot’s” in its description?

I sampled both and decided “hot” is a relative term. Both “Medium” and “Extra Hot” tasted about the same to me—somewhat hot, but mouth-watering, not really sinus-clearing or ear-wax melting, both milder than House of India’s lemon pickle.

My lime-relish tasting took place as we were putting our Sunday brunch together--poached eggs on toasted English muffins and potatoes, Mini Tater Tots this week. Since I’ve often read of adventurous diners who splash hot pepper sauce on their eggs, I wondered what putting some Hot Lime Relish on my two poached eggs would taste like.

I spooned a little on each egg.

Ellen watched with a degree of skepticism.

I ate. Ah, delicious!

This bottle won’t last a year.

Thank you, Kusuma.

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