Some folks here will enjoy this article, How Yotam Ottolenghi Comes Up With a New Recipe (New York Times, gift link.)
I appreciate how he shares his thought process around using familiar ingredients and preparations to come up with new dishes. Do you ever freestyle in this way too?
Also I love how this piece credits the ideas of another author, Niki Segnit, and her Flavor Thesaurus books. The notion of a “flavor wheel” that suggests which ingredients pair well with each other—and why—is my kind of thing. Especially at those moments when I lack for inspiration, have a bunch of random ingredients on hand, and need to get dinner together.