My fridge is never without a pound, or two or three.

Lemon Diet

Some salted, some unsalted, some cultured, all at the ready for any recipe. I enjoy toast with my morning butter, and even think banana bread is lovely, but wouldn't a little slick of butter make it better?

Lemon Juice Diet

Vegetables with butter, on a baked potato, over popcorn -- irresistible! The recipes below are for readers who want to share in this passion for butter. But remember, only in moderation!

Lemon Detox Diet

Shortbread -- the test of butter

Shortbread depends on so few ingredients that the butter really can shine.

No vanilla, chocolate, or nuts to distract from the bliss of good butter, and just enough sugar to sweeten, but not overpower.

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) salted butter, cubed and softened but not quite to room temperature

1/4 cup (60 ml) cornstarch

1/4 cup (60 ml) granulated sugar

1 3/4 cups (425 ml) all-purpose flour

Directions:

Line 2 rimless baking sheets with parchment paper or leave ungreased. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter until light coloured and swirls easily.

By hand, beat in cornstarch, then sugar, and finally flour, a third at a time.

Between 2 sheets of waxed paper roll out half of dough at a time to 1/4-inch (5 mm) thickness.

Using a 1 3/4-inch (3.75 cm) cookie cutter, cut out rounds; place about 1-inch (2.5 cm) apart on prepared pans. Prick twice with a fork.

Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.

(Make-ahead: Freeze in a single layer; then layer with waxed paper in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month. You can bake from frozen, adding a few minutes baking time.)

Bake in centre of 275F (140C) oven until barely coloured and firm to a light touch, about 1 hour. Let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes; transfer to racks to cool.

(Make-ahead: Layer with waxed paper in airtight container and store at room temperature for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.)

CHICKEN BREASTS WITH BUTTER SAUCE

This recipe could be your template to a quick chicken dinner. It's three steps - coating chicken breasts with seasoned Panko breadcrumbs, browning in butter, then a quick sauce made from browned bits, broth or wine and the addition of herbs and lemon for extra appeal.

Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

about 1 1/2 lb. (750 g)

1/3 cup (75 ml) panko crumbs or all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each finely grated lemon rind and salt

1/2 tsp. (2 ml) dried oregano or basil

1/4 tsp. (1 ml) freshly ground pepper

3 Tbsp. (45 ml) butter, divided

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) olive oil

1/4 tsp. (1 ml) cornstarch

1 cup (250 ml) chicken broth or white wine

1 Tbsp. (15 ml) lemon juice

2 Tbsp. (30 ml) minced fresh chives or parsley

Directions:

Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of waxed paper, and on cutting board with a rolling pin, pound breasts to even 3/4-inch (2 cm) thickness - basically flattening thicker end to thickness of thinner end.

In a shallow bowl, stir together crumbs, lemon rind, salt, oregano and pepper. One at a time firmly press breasts into crumb mixture, coating both sides.

In a skillet large enough to hold 4 breasts in a single layer, melt 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) of butter and oil over medium-high heat.

When butter foams, arrange breasts in pan. Brown on one side, about 4 minutes; turn and cook until crispy golden brown and juices run clear when chicken is pierced, about 4 to 6 minutes.

Adjust heat as necessary to prevent butter from burning. Transfer chicken to small platter and keep warm in a 200F (100C) oven.

Meanwhile, stir cornstarch into broth and pour into the skillet. Over high heat, bring broth to a boil, scraping up all brown bits from skilletArticle Submission, and boil until reduced to half. Stir in lemon juice.

Cube butter and swirl into the pan to thicken the sauce. Immediately pour over chicken breasts and sprinkle with chives.

Makes 4 servings.