I’ve been in lemonland, working on a freelance piece about Meyer lemons, the fragrant, thin-skinned, sweetly balanced lemons you find sometimes in farmer’s markets. They grow beautifully in Hawaii. My little bush — a dwarf version that grows in a pot on our front pathway — is covered with them right now. You can find them in some nurseries; try Frankie’s or any of the big box stores. (I talked to Susan Matsushima of Alluvion, Inc., which supplies the trees to these stores, and she said they’re propagating some now, so, if you don’t find them, check back in a few weeks.)


The story is for Edible Hawaiian Islands, a gorgeous quarterly magazine that’s part of a nationwide network of Edibles which focus on native, local foods, sustainable agriculture, home gardening, new and unusual foods, cooking fresh and seasonally. Find it online at ediblehawaiianislands.com. The summer issue opens with a revealing piece on the underused breadfruit.

While I was performing in the Gridiron show, my friend Bob Madison, who manages the Contemporary Cafe and has worked in fine restaurants around town, made us a wonderful lemon shortbread, a recipe he got from former Cafe chef Noreen Lam. It’s not a lemon bar, but a thin, buttery shortbread with a lemon glaze. To pump up the lemon flavor, he added lemon zest to the shortbread. MMMMMMMMMM. Make this with standard lemons or Meyer lemons. You could even do limes.

Here’s the recipe:

Lemon Shortbread
Noreen Lam

1 pound butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Zest of 2 lemons
¼ cup lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, cut butter into sugar. Add vanilla.
In another bowl, sift dry ingredients. Cut into butter mixture.
Line ½ sheet pan (16-by-12 inches) with foil, line with parchment and grease parchment with butter and sprinkle very lightly with flour.
Press dough evenly into pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes until light golden.
Cool 10 minutes and cut into squares.
While shortbread is cooling, combine glaze ingredients. Using a pastry brush, glaze shortbread while still warm.