i think sometimes my favorite way to cook is to try to make something just from what i have at home already. i try to think creatively about what i have in the kitchen and what i can do with it.
if i don't know exactly how long to cook something, or if i don't have a specific ingredient that is called for, i do a few searches online or look in a few trusted cookbooks and combine the best of what i see. i am always looking for new ideas from chefs and cooking shows (ina garten, anne burrell, nigella lawson, mario batali and tyler florence are some of my favs) but i almost never re-create their dishes exactly. in the way i like to cook everyday at home, there are no rules, i just make things up as i go.
i read a great article in food & wine that gets right to the point of all this: "becoming an intuitive cook: thomas keller's cooking lessons." i hope you enjoy my blog. here's to cooking by your own rules!