OK, so you’re bored with all your go-to meals. It’s not the protein that you’re sick of; it’s the same ol’ flavors you’ve used for years. Instead of tossing your classics, stock up on new spice jars and get ready to wake up your taste buds. Here to show us how it’s done is this week’s featured foodie, Cynthia Samanian of Confetti Kitchen. Cynthia’s Persian roots introduced a deep love of spice into her kitchen routine—and we’re not talking about red pepper flakes, guys. Just take a look at her seven favorite recipes featuring alternative seasonings; you’re probably already familiar with baked eggs and grilled chicken, but just you wait…
If you’ve ordered baked eggs at brunch, news flash: You already like shakshuka. This Tunisian dish of eggs poached in a spicy tomato and red pepper sauce gets its kick from turmeric, paprika, and cumin. It may not be your typical tomato sauce… and that’s really OK with us.
Breathe new life into flank steak with a hit of cumin and chili powder. Roll the sliced meat into tacos (and maybe make a pitcher of margaritas), because who says you have to go out for taco night?
Shake up your spice drawer by adding sumac to the mix. Turns out, it’s the best way to give a tart kick to that boring salmon. The coarse red powder is a staple in Persian and Mediterranean cooking, and guess what? If you’ve ever sprinkled hummus with za’atar, you’re already into sumac (the main ingredient in the seedy spice mixture).
Chicken kabobs are always a crowd-pleaser for a group of friends or picky family members, but just wait 'til your gang tries them with a curry-paprika spice rub and a squeeze of lime juice. Yeah, you’re gonna need a double batch.
Who says latkes are just for Hanukkah parties—they’re fried potatoes (!), and way too tasty to be served only once per year. This curry- and cumin-kissed version is just waiting to be smeared with sour cream, dolloped with applesauce, and sandwiched around lox.
Harissa is the cool older cousin of your standard spice rub. A thick, super-spicy paste of chilies, garlic, cumin, and coriander, this sauce is basically the Sriracha of North African cuisine. Smear the stuff on sweet carrots and serve with meaty lentils and a cooling yogurt sauce.
Baked fish might sound like phoning-it-in: dinner edition, but thanks to smoky paprika, panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and lemon zest, it’s just the opposite. The flaky fish is crisp on the outside and tender on the inside—plus, it’s ready in half an hour.
Cynthia Samanian is the founder of Confetti Kitchen, a new culinary site that’s not just for foodies. Out of her San Francisco apartment, Cynthia and her team create simple, quick, and globally inspired recipes for every kind of shindig, big or small. From boozy brunch to date night in, Confetti Kitchen helps basic cooks have a little more fun with their food. For more from Cynthia, follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.