Strawberries and rhubarb: vibrancy and an evolution

When the cold starts moving out, vibrancy moves in. Like a shapeshifter of the best sort, it comes in many forms: flowers; brightly hued berries and tomatoes; changing pedicure polish preferences; fewer black clothes.

It's almost shocking, the first few times you encounter really red strawberries, variegated stalks of rhubarb and bright green basil with leaves the size of dog ears. I can never resist buying huge quantities of these things and then enjoy working like mad to do justice to them before they lose their luster or, worse, begin to rot.

Other than pie and jam, my favorite way to combine strawberries and rhubarb is in a simple, cooked-down puree. It's like applesauce, but seriously pink and a bit more interesting. Oliver and I like to eat it plain; nothing needed but a spoon and, if you want to get fancy, a bowl. It's also divine with yogurt or ice cream; an easy snack or dessert if ever there was one.

Sometimes, when I'm really jazzed and/or in a dessert-obsessed myopia, I stir some of the puree into this French yogurt cake and then also dollop a bit on top for a streak of pretty. Both are a sublime addition to what is already a ridiculously good cake. Thank you hottie Andrew Knowlton!

Go forth y'all, and make! Also, go read my latest bit on the Huffington Post!!