Rhubarb appears like celery's wilder cousin, stalking the land briefly  and throwing a jolt of electric acidity to any dish it graces.

These days, hothouse rhubarb is increasingly available year-around, but now's the time for the fresh, field-grown stuff, which tends to have maximum color and zing. With  just a little water and plenty of sugar, the stringy stalks quickly collapse into a luscious compote in a saucepan, beautiful with Greek yogurt or even oatmeal. We love homemade Rhubarb Liqueur, a sweet-tart song to the season. Sip it straight or top it with a splash of cava or your favorite dry sparkling wine.

You typically see rhubarb in a pie with strawberry, but strawberries are just coming in to season. We chose apple instead. Try rhubarb in our Rhubarb-Apple Pie.