Lest you think I've been sitting on my haunches, not cooking or eating since the weekend, please take another look at my Bittman's Pernil post, where I have been adding my creations using the leftover pork roast. Wow! Pork roast is versatile and fun!
I think this is the kind of cooking I love most. Although I enjoy learning classic preparations and techniques, nights when I am cleaning out the fridge and the pantry are a fun-tastic creative challenge for me. To me, this is the best thing about cooking...experimenting with flavors and textures and ways of cooking. I am not intimidated because I'm not following some specific recipe and I am not worrying about wasting expensive ingredients. I'm just taking inventory of what's on the shelves and putting stuff together in ways that seem like good ideas. Sometimes it's not a complete success, but very rarely is this kind of cooking a complete failure.
Check out this post on Ruhlman's Elements of Cooking blog about recipes. I love the recipe example he uses, with directions such as "add a bunch of herbs." The point being, you don't necessarily need a recipe to cook a good meal. Go by taste. Go by feeling. Go by instinct. Don't be afraid to add or subtract. Don't panic if you forgot to by an ingredient. Improvise! Learn! Discover!