As the kosher cookbook market continues to flourish, it can be difficult to know which cookbooks are the right match for each home cook. From time to time I’ll be reviewing different cookbooks here, giving you a little glimpse inside each one, to help you decide which ones might be a good investment for you.

Have you heard about the new Celebrate cookbook by Elizabeth Kurtz? It came out a few months ago, and it’s definitely my favorite of all the kosher cookbooks that have come out in the last year or two. The publishers have sent me a copy to review, as well as several recipes from the book that I’ve included below (click on the picture or the name of the dish to be taken to the recipe). We also have a second copy of the cookbook for one lucky reader!

I am generally not much of a cookbook person. Most of the time I don’t cook from a recipe, and when I do I prefer to look online, compare several recipes for the same dish, read the reviews and choose the one I think will work best for me (or patch them together to create a better version). I find that most people use only 5–6 recipes from each cookbook they own, which seems like a waste, but this cookbook excites me because there are so many recipes in here I actually want to try!

London Broil with Braised Shallots and Mushrooms


The photography in this book is superb. The colors are vibrant, the pictures are fully focused, and the styling is logical and appealing. The photography far surpasses that of the past few cookbooks I’ve reviewed. Unfortunately, though, there is not a photograph for every recipe. I’d say on average there’s a photo for every 3rd recipe.

Tips and Tricks

Along with gorgeous color photos and design, the book offers tips for making meals in advance, freezing, rewarming, and ingredient substitutions for making almost every dish Passover-perfect.

Extreme Chocolate Drop Cookies

The Food

The recipes in Celebrate are not limited to one specific cuisine. There are 200 recipes ranging from easy, everyday meals to more complex and holiday-themed dishes.

Some of the ones I’m most excited to try:

Wild Mushroom Soup, Fresh Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette and Roasted Sweet Potato, Turkey Roast with Cumin-Spiked Berry Sauce, Moroccan Lamb Stew, Standing Rib Roast Studded with Garlic, Peanut Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumbers and Carrot, Szechwan Sugar Snap Peas, Easy Creamy Lemon Tart, and Tahini Thumbprint Cookies.

What Else?

It has bookmarks! Two of them. To me this is a big advantage, because two people can use the cookbook at the same time without losing their place.

One thing I didn’t like about this cookbook (aside from not enough pictures) is the way it’s divided up. Some of it made sense, but part of it sacrificed clarity for the sake of “cutesiness.”

Who Will Enjoy This Cookbook?

Is this cookbook for you? It excites me, and I don’t usually get excited by cookbooks. I can’t promise that you’ll enjoy it too, but we’ve shared three recipes here with you, which you can try out for yourselves and then decide.

One of the recipes that really caught my eye was for these healthy and visually appealing stuffed mushrooms:

Garlic and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms


  • 1 cup almond milk or non-dairy creamer
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 24 large button mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup matzo meal or panko crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons pesto (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar


  1. Combine almond milk and garlic in a small saucepan over very low heat; cook until garlic is soft enough to mash with a fork, about 45 minutes. (Almond milk will be reduced and thick.) Remove from heat and mash garlic with a fork to a rough puree.
  2. While the garlic is poaching, remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop the stems to use in the stuffing. Reserve the mushroom caps for stuffing. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium; add shallots and chopped mushroom stems. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.
  3. Combine the mashed garlic with the matzo meal/panko, pesto, 1 teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, and shallot-mushroom mixture, and mix thoroughly.
  4. Preheat oven to 450° F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, vinegar, the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the mushroom caps and toss to coat. Arrange mushroom caps on prepared baking sheet, and fill centers evenly with reserved garlic-crumb mixture. Drizzle tops with remaining teaspoon of olive oil.
  6. Bake until just browned, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves: 8


So, is Celebrate a cookbook you’d love to own? We are giving away a free copy to one lucky reader. It could be you! To enter, leave a comment sharing a thought, experience or memory about Jewish celebration or kosher cooking.

Note: Cookbook can be shipped only within the U.S. Entries must be made by 11:59 PM EST on Thursday, July 21, 2016. Winner will be chosen on Monday, July 25, 2016.