Chef Larry Adler: Cooking up a storm to break the fast

by | Sep 22, 2022 | Trending News


Larry Adler


Virginia Beach’s Larry Adler, culinary faculty lead at Stratford University and a former training professional, has a long history of applying his skills and creativity to bringing food to the next level.

For Jewish News readers, Adler shares a few tips for delicious ways to break the fast at Yom Kippur, plus his mother’s famous recipe for apple cake!

Jewish News: How did you get into cooking and food prep?

Larry Adler: While I come from a family of good cooks as both my grandmothers and mother were creative in the kitchen, my incentive to cook was more a necessity as my wife worked late, and it was something I always enjoyed. I did not get my culinary degree until late in life, and it has become an interesting and rewarding pastime in my retirement years.

JN: What is your favorite meal for breaking the fast?

LA: We have done a standard Break-the-Fast at Yom Kippur for about 30 family members and friends for the last 30 years. Bagels, lox, both sweet and savory kugels, and an assortment of desserts featuring my mother’s apple cake. Our close friend David Pariser hot-smokes a salmon filet (recipe included), which is always a family favorite. For early arrivals, we have chopped pickled herring and chopped liver.

We consider this a family affair. Everyone who comes brings and shares. My wife, Ronna, and our children and grandchildren are all instrumental in making this a family event.

JN: How do you consider different palates as well as those with dietary restrictions— to have something for everybody?

LA: By offering a variety of food items, we have never had to work really hard to accommodate. Egg salad and chicken salad meet many diets and are gluten-free, and a large selection of sliced veggies or a salad will be both gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly.

JN: How is this year different for a break- the-fast event, especially in light of COVID restrictions from recent years?

LA: We always hope for good weather so we can spread out on the porch and yard and with few exceptions, this has been the case. The first year of the pandemic kept us laying low with only the immediate family. This year we hope to be back to full strength, but as a family, we will take a moment to remember those who are no longer with us.


Chopped Herring

  • 1 jar pickled herring and onions drained
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 apple (peeled, cored and diced)
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs

Drain juice from herring. Put apple, onion, and eggs into food processor. Pulse until herring is chopped. Add small amounts of vegetable oil if needed. Chill and serve with crackers.


Smoked Salmon

  • 1 quart water
  • ½ cup salt
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¼ cup rum
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 10 whole cloves (spice)
  • 10 peppercorns (whole)
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 whole salmon filet

Combine salt, water, rum, lemon juice, and spices in a container. Place salmon filet in large dish and pour mixture over fish. Cover and refrigerate for 2–3 hours.

Prepare grill or smoker by filling water tray, adding wood chips and preheating to 250 degrees. Remove fish from solution and discard solution. Do not rinse fish of the salty skin that has formed. Place fish on smoker rack and smoke until desired doneness is achieved. Some folks like fish to be only lightly cooked (30–45 minutes); others like the fish to be well done (1–2 hours). Allow to cook and serve with horseradish or dill sauce.


Mamaw’s Apple Cake

This is my mother’s famous recipe. It has been known to cause family fights about who ate the last piece, and one whole cake has disappeared under suspicious circumstances. While my mother passed away this year, both my wife and my daughter Lindsey make a pretty good replica. My sister Dorothy says she will attempt it this year, too!


  • 1 box Duncan Hines Butter Recipe Cake Mix
  • 1 apple, cored, peeled, cut in half, and thinly sliced if you have mandolin to slice it.
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¹/³ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¹/³ cup sugar


  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup pecans finely chopped

Mix topping ingredients together and set aside. Mix cake ingredients with mixer. Pour ¹/³ cake batter into greased and floured tube cake pan. Sprinkle ¼ of the topping mixture on top of batter. Pour ¹/³ more batter and arrange apple slices FLAT around pan. Sprinkle more topping mixture. Pour remaining batter over apples and topping mix and put remaining apple slices (standing upright) around top. Sprinkle with topping mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 50–55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

 –Debbie Burke