Half my time is spent outdoors, cooking for strangers (and teaching them that they can cook, too).
Cooking, like real life, involves a series of adjustments and blind faith. So... I like to play fast and loose with my recipes. Be willing to change courses if it doesn't work. Trust my gut.
And you can never go wrong if you choose fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients first (I promise it pays off).
>>>If all else fails, I just put it in a pot and cook it<<<