Throw out the rules.
Credit: Courtesy of Neighborhood Dining Group

Unlike meat – which is rather consistent – vegetables shouldn't be cooked following set-in-stone instructions. That's why your first move should be to shelf your cookbook and experiment with each individual plant. "Taste each vegetable before you decide to cook it" Brock says. "Then think about a vegetable's unique characteristics before you do something with it."

Your move: According to Brock, there's a "sweet spot" during the cooking process where a vegetable reaches the perfect texture and flavor. "But people don't find it because they aren't focusing on specific vegetables' maturity stages enough." That's why you should consider each raw vegetable somewhere already along the cooking cycle. For example, a softer, riper, sweeter vegetable will require less cooking time, and vice versa for a firmer, younger, more savory vegetable. So let intermittent tastes, rather than a timer, be your guide.