Behind The Butter

ingredient spotlight: lemon

Currently, I’m really digging:

the Alison Krauss and Robert Plant album

fresh honeycomb from Savannah Bee Company on…everything

garage green screens

fresh fennel

a sweet t-shirt from 1996 that I just found in the back of my closet

my fuzzy leopard slippers



I love the way that using just a little fresh lemon zest really brightens up recipes…baked goods, especially.

I love being subtle with it, causing only the hint of brightness…something you can taste but can’t put your finger on.

I also love going strong: creating baked goods so creamy and lemony that it takes you straight back to summer, even on the chilliest of days.

When I was little, my parents would sometimes take my brother and I to Ben & Jerry’s for dessert.

This was special in and of itself because my mom loved to make dessert at home usually, creamy chocolate mousses and meringue cookies were favorites in our house. However, some nights we loaded up and headed downtown to Ben & Jerry’s. It was right on the water and we loved to eat our ice cream and watch the boats go by.

I always ordered the exact same thing: lemon sorbet in a waffle cone.

There was just something about the puckery sweet sorbet and the crunchy cone that satisfied like nothing else. I loved the last little bit, that laaaast bit of waffle cone with melted lemon sorbet soaking through.

What about you? Are you a lemon fan? What’s your favorite citrus flavored treat?

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  • Hope
    November 16, 2010 at 11:57 am

    mmm I love lemon! Esp in hot water – somehow feels like it cleans the system out lol!
    But lemon juice and sugar on pancakes is my favourite way to enjoy our little yellow friends!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin
    November 16, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I love lemon everything! I didn’t used to dig lemon desserts, but lemon bars have recently become one of my all time favorites!

  • Jordan
    November 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    There isn’t anything that can’t be improved with lemon zest! Especially pasta sauce! And personally, I’m perfectly content to cut out the middleman and just eat a lemon.

  • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
    November 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    i dig fresh honeycomb too! Only mine comes from my straight from my Uncle who is a bee-keeper and lives “just-around-the-corner” from us…love! As for citrus…I love lemon and orange zest in….a thin powdered sugar glaze to drizzle over banana walnut bread. Seriously awesome!
    cathy b.

    • Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes
      November 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

      **comes straight from my Uncle…the way I typ-oed made it sounds like I was really mention that my Uncle was straight! lol…
      cathy b.

  • Amber K
    November 16, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Lemon is okay, although I’m not in love. What I HATE is sorbet. Waaaaaaaaay too icy for me. I hope I never have to go completely dairy-free because there is nothing that can truly replace my loves. (especially while keeping soy-free!)

  • Michele @ Healthy Cultivations
    November 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Oh, I love lemon very much. One Favorite: lemon pudding… eat it slow and savor the lemonyness.

  • Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    November 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Lemon=infused chocolate ganache. Necessary for life.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    November 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Lemon flavored treats were one of my biggest cravings during the first trimester of this pregnancy. Good thing a large chunk of that was spring/summer so there were many available. 😀

  • Laura
    November 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I enjoy lemon, I think I LOVE limes more though. I’m so use to drinking water with lemon (or lime juice) in it that regular water is starting to taste weird without it.

    Totally agree with how a lemon can brighten your food. I used it just the other night in my turkey milanese , adds such a great fresh flavor.

  • Amanda
    November 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I LOVE lemons and will actually eat them raw…I have a taste for sour things. My favorite lemon treat is probably lemon sorbet

  • tina
    November 16, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    mmmm a homemade lemon dressing- little olive oil, garlic, pepper with parmasean and ARUGULA…. mmmm and some crusty bread! afternoon snack, please!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite
    November 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Lemon is by far my favorite citrus fruit!

    When I was pregnant I use to peel them like an orange, sprinkle salt on them and devour them!

  • Lisa
    November 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I love lemon flavored anything. One of my secrets is to add lemon zest to french toast. AMAZING! Really makes the flavor wonderful.

  • Suzanne
    November 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    I am a lemon lover…just wish I had a green thumb and could actually get my lemon tree to produce some lemons.

    • Nicole (the other one)
      November 16, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      I wish I lived in a climate where I could even have a lemon tree!

      I make a pasta sauce with chicken stock, white wine, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest. Toss with pasta, shrimp and french feta.

  • Heather @ Get Healthy with Heather
    November 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I love adding just a touch of lemon. It truly brightens up a dish. Lemon pancakes with blueberries are a favorite of mine.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey
    November 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I’m a lemon lover, but it’s not my go to sweet treat!

  • Kara @ Kara's Marathon
    November 16, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    Homemade lemon bars with a ridiculously buttery crust will always be my #1 favorite citrus treat. Lemon zinger tea, while also delicious, comes in at a VERY distant second…

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day
    November 16, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    So funny…I just wrote a post last night on my love of lemon. If there are two desserts in front of me, once chocolate, one lemon. I will always choose the lemon.

  • kate
    November 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Im a fan of the whole citrus family. And lemon bars are in a category all on their own.

  • Ashley
    November 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I find your blog so entertaining — not going to lie didn’t like the change at first — but now it’s my daily entertainment. It’s a nice change from all the other blogs. Just thought I’d let you know your blog rocks!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    November 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I love lemon and lime. I can never have too much citrus, much to the dismay of my husband, whose taste buds don’t like the acidic as much as I do.

  • shelly
    November 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I’m loving lemon in savory applications lately. My current favorite it barley cooked with half a lemon and a couple cloves of garlic topped with asparagus, green onion sauce ( cook chopped green onions in olive oil, then puree), and a fried egg!

  • Katy @ A Healthy Shot
    November 16, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I put lemon on/in everything! Always in my water, usually on salads, stir-frys, etc. And every now and then I just eat lemon slices like an orange 🙂

  • Jil @ Big City, Lil' Kitchen
    November 16, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    LOVE lemon. I put it in the simplest of things – like my water…and I love what a little zest does to just about anything!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    November 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    it’s all about the lemon tarts for me…creamy, lemony sweetness 🙂

  • Beth @
    November 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I am definitely a chocolate girl above all else but my #2 when it comes to desserts is lemon. I think it’s really refreshing after a good meal. I made a lemon curd and fresh berry trifle a few times this summer that was excellent.

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing
    November 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I’m definitely a chocolate lover above all else but lemon is my #2 favorite dessert flavor. It’s so refreshing after a good meal. I made a lemon curd and fresh berry triffle twice this summer that was excellent.

  • Jillian @ Reshape Your Life
    November 16, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I like my lemon sweet more than tart… So lemon bars would be my favorite way to enjoy lemon. But I do like a little lemon in my tea. 🙂

  • Alexia @ DimpleSnatcher
    November 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Speaking of Alison Krauss, one of her songwriters, Julie Lee, was a guest performer at our church in NYC this past weekend. Beautiful voice & songs. Sigh.

    About lemons: I loved them especially this way. Mixed with water & lots of white sugar, still living in Jamaica, little, and I would ask my friends, “Guess if this is water or lemonade?!”
    Thanks for reminding me, Jenna.

  • the salty girl
    November 16, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    I lerve lemon curd! It’s so tart, thick and sweet!

  • Ray
    November 16, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Those lemon bars look ahhhmaaazing!
    If I had the ingredients I’d be making them RIGHT now.

  • Jennifer @ Jane Deere
    November 16, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I LOVE lemons! I remember eating them with the the salt shaker by my side. I’d sprinkle some salt and lick it off and repeat…it was sooo good! My favorite lemon dessert is Lemon Four Layer Dessert. My mom has made it since I was young; she usually makes either chocolate or lemon. YUM!

  • rachel @ suburban yogini
    November 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I LOVE that album…. And everything Robert Plant ever does…and lemons too of course!

  • OC2Seattle
    November 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Adore lemon. I drink it every morning in hot water to help my allergies and I have a blissfullye asy and delicious lemon cake recipe I bust out for dinner parties in the spring.

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle
    November 16, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Love citrus! My favorite currently is orange and orange zest!

  • Maggie @ Flour Child
    November 16, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I share your love of lemons, which you’ve captured so perfectly in this post. I used to eat Meyer lemons like they were oranges. (Don’t try it at home; I damanged my tooth enamel.)

    My favorite citrus treats are lemon squares and lemon buttermilk chocolate chip cookies. You can find the recipes here:


  • Madeline @ Spidatter
    November 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm


    I just got back from culinary school in Florence, Italy. And I ate WAY too much of it. But I’m totally fine with that. When in Italy…

  • Katie
    November 16, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I think you should do more ingredients profiles like this. 🙂

    I love lemon. Lemon bars are so good. And I always love to put a lemon in my water, club soda, or tea. Oh, and wheat beer too!

  • Courtney
    November 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Not a huge fan of lemon. Alison Krauss, however, can do no wrong in my book!

  • Natalia - a side of simple
    November 16, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    I’m not really a lemon fan, but I AM a fan of your pictures of lemons! My mom has been craving lemony baked goods/custards lately, so I know she would appreciate your devotion 🙂

  • Liana @ femme fraiche
    November 16, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Lemon granita enjoyed on a beach break in Italy…nothing quite so perfect and refreshing….

    Those look like a similar recipe I use at home called lemon squares…I wonder if they’re the same? The treats with the icing sugar on top…

  • Nikki
    November 16, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I love all things lemon. Savory things with lemon, sweet things… yum! I also love your site; I just perused the entire thing (after being a devoted reader for about 6 months!) and I love it!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks
    November 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I love Alison Krauss!

    ..and I love lemon bars. Your picture is killing me. I want one bad!

  • Lizzie
    November 16, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    My husband says if I could, I would just put lemon on everything. I love it. My b’day dessert made by my mum is all about lemon. I feel like any fish dish is incomplete without it. I’m planning on making those Big Sur lemons bars as a Christmas gift. I go out of my way to buy lemon/citrus scented dishwashing detergent/hand lotion/hand soap etc. I love it. Have I mentioned that? We grew up with a lemon tree in our backyard. They were SO good. The only ones I have found that compare were at a farmers market in Santa Barbara. I will happily eat lemon/lime wedges even if they are a garnish. Except for those cute little wedges they sit atop martini glasses – they get placed gently in the drink for more lemon/citrus taste. So, yes. Lemon!!! 🙂

  • Richard
    November 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Just a small piece of a Lemon Larabar is an unbelievable treat. Crisp and clean taste, and refreshing. Even just one-quarter of the Larabar will do the trick, especially if it’s been in the refrigerator and is still cold. Very close to the taste of lemon ice cream, and healthier for you.

  • stacey-healthylife
    November 16, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    Lemon adds some zest and brightens anything up, love it.

  • laine @ beets, butter and mountaintops
    November 16, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I have listened to Killing The Blues about 950 times in the last week.

    That is all.

  • Laughter-Loving Stacy
    November 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    I think lemon is amazing. I always put a slice in my water bottle to spruce up my water… so good. 🙂

  • Krystina (Basil & Wine)
    November 16, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I’m a huge lemon fan. I think citrus is one of the best things to add to almost anything.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    November 16, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I love lemon. Especially in vodka. But I really love lime!

  • Dorry
    November 16, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I love lemons! When I was younger, I was not a fan of chocolate (I know, ridiculous) and I’d always go for the lemon bar over a brownie. Not I get both. 🙂 I also loved the Lemon Chills at Six Flags as a kid.

  • Aliona
    November 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    lemons are a beautiful thing. your post is gorgeous jenna!!
    i love those lemon drop candies… mmm. so good

  • Karen
    November 16, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Love, love, love Raising Sand…one of my top-favorite albums of all time! Such a seemingly odd collaboration produced pure magic. I never tire of listening to killing the blues. Enjoy!

  • Susan
    November 16, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I’m a big fan of lemon, myself. I recently had pizza with citrus zest from The Cheeseboard in Berkeley. I recommend you try it the next time you’re down there. The pizzas change daily and they only serve one flavor per day. I bet some lemon zest would be good on your zucchini pizza.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat)
    November 16, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    My aunt has a lemon tree in front of her house in Texas and sends us a huge box every Christmas. These lemons are literally four times what you see in the grocery store — they look like grapefruits! — and sweet as candy.

  • Elizabeth
    November 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    If you like Robert Plant, you should download the song “Angel Dance” off his new album its great!!

  • Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga)
    November 16, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    The lemon bars look great…my fave citrus flavored treat would be a lemon drop martini 🙂

    Or this new Extra chewing gum called Key Lime Pie. I like key lime pie well enough, but this off the charts good!

    And sweatshirts from 96? I have hoodies from h.s. that I STILL Wear! And that was ummm, like almost 20 yrs ago…wow. Im getting old! 🙂

  • kris&kel
    November 16, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    You’ve just inspired me to cook with lemon!! 🙂

    <3 kris&kel

  • Amy
    November 16, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I was one of those weird kids who would just munch on plain lemons! Still love them!

  • Lacey @ Lake Life
    November 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    I’m not a fan of lemon desserts but I love lemon juice on fish, parmesan roasted asparagus and anything containing artichoke!

  • Cara Craves...
    November 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Love Lemon Squares dusted with icing sugar!

  • Laura (Blogging Over Thyme)
    November 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    I am obsessed with all things lemon! I like lemon juice in all beer, on everything from breaded chicken to water, and everything in between 🙂

  • jenny
    November 16, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I love the zest of lemon and hints of lemon! OH! And lemon water of course, but I don’t like it strong, a little to tart for my likings:)

  • Kim Trick
    November 16, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I love lemons. I drink lemon water all the time or homemade lemonade. But I’ve always been intimidated by lemon zest. Maybe I should give it a go with all my leftover lemon peels.

  • Rebeca
    November 16, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    I was actually listenin’ to that album when I pulled up this post.

  • Hannah L. (Hannah Lives)
    November 16, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Lemon is my favorite ingredient! I love the subtle flavor of lemon slices in water and iced tea, but I also love that in your face lemon flavor in lemon ricotta pancakes, lemon bars, lemon pasta, and lemon cake! Now Im hungry.

  • Lorin
    November 16, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I rather have chocolate. But those do look real tasty 🙂

  • maya @ finding balance in tokyo
    November 16, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    I LOVE lemons and have for my whole life. I used to suck on plain lemon slices as a kid, and always eat the leftover fresh when a wedge comes as garnish with a drink or dish.

    Lemon tarts, bars, etc. are my default choice when they are on the menu. But I’m not a huge fan of a lot of lemon sorbets, they don’t quite taste lemony enough for me usually.

    Funny story: When I first started cooking and preparing food as a teen the most recent complaint from my family was that I overdid it on the lemon! They wouldn’t come near my guacamole and had a hard time with my pasta sauce as well. =/

  • Ravenous Rowie
    November 17, 2010 at 1:03 am

    YUM! I love lemon too! My favorite is either a lemon souffle, or lemon sorbet.

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    November 17, 2010 at 2:58 am

    I *love* lemon. I can’t imagine life without it, to be honest, as I put it in everything (well, not everything, but you know what I mean.) It’s so bright and zingy! 😀

    Your lemon squares look so perfect!! 😀

  • Marie-Journey to Body Zen
    November 17, 2010 at 4:14 am

    I love lemon meringue pie. The flavors of the tart lemon, sweet meringue and soft crust are an excellent combo!

  • eliza
    November 17, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Hey Jenna, wanted to tell you we just got in the Murphy-Goode Zin… at my restaurant in Maine!

    🙂 Thought you should know

  • dynamics
    November 17, 2010 at 6:37 am

    I love lemon. Lemon anything. As a child I would go to ride my horse and would get very thirsty. I refused to get off the horse and go get a drink of water. The horse and I would rather ride up to the lemon tree and pick a lemon or two and pop them open and drink the sweet lemon juice. Lemons are a great thirst quencher.

  • Suzanne @ Continuing My Education
    November 17, 2010 at 7:15 am

    I LOVE making these citrus biscotti! I make them every Christmas for my friends and family, they are slightly sweet, with a hint of citrus (gotta love the mircoplane!)

  • Lauren @ louisianagrown
    November 17, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Lemon desserts are my favorite! I especially love Lemon Madeleines and I like the little lemon bundt cakes that Starbucks has. They pair great was a latte.

  • Robyn
    November 17, 2010 at 9:57 am

    My kitchen is NEVER without lemons — I use them in so much! I’m not much of a baker, but fresh squeezed lemon juice and a tiny bit of olive oil along with some cracked pepper and sea salt makes a divinely simple way to dress a salad. So fresh, so clean. 🙂 Delish.

  • Monica
    November 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    The Krauss/Plant album and microplane zesters are two of the best things on earth. Lemons are good, too. Especially when used in Bircher Muesli, and vodka tonics.

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed
    November 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    *gasp* Jenna! Thank you for the link back to this recipe! I missed that post and your lemon bars look so perfectly delicious it is almost too much to handle 🙂 I adore lemons. Loved this post, including the beautiful pics. Can’t wait to have a meyer lemon tree of my own once we buy a place with a backyard. At the moment I rely on stealing my parent’s lemons by the bag full 🙂
    Heidi xo