Favorite Recipes

Picture from Agricole Hospitality

Picture from Agricole Hospitality

Peking Duck

Several of the events in Irish Luck, Chinese Medicine feature ethnic Chinese and Irish dishes. These characters came to America to escape starvation, and scenes in the book show the ritual of sharing meals from home and characters taking comfort in memories and one another. 

Food is a big part ofIrish Luck, Chinese Medicine. Characters in the book came to America to escape starvation and meals brought back the comfort of their homeland. In one scene in the book, aromatic Peking Duck is on display in the windows of Philadelphia’s Chinatown.

In one scene in the book, aromatic Peking Duck is on display in the windows of Philadelphia’s Chinatown.The dish is associated with imperial menus and although named after Beijing (‘Peking’ is an older spelling), it originated in the former Chinese capital of Nanjing, which lies in the eastern province of Jiangsu. Peking Duck became  a feature dish in American Chinese restaurants in the early 20thCentury but I imagined that some Chinese, especially those with aspirations of nobility, might have started to sell Peking Duck ahead of the trend.


1 whole duck, head on

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup salt

1 teaspoon five-spice powder

1 cup molasses

2 cups oil, hot


Fill large pot 3/4 full with boiling water. Preheat rotisserie or oven to 375 degrees. Soak the whole duck in the large pot of boiling water. Remove it as soon as the skin changes color.

Sprinkle the inside of the duck with sugar, salt, and five-spice powder. Rub the skin of the duck with molasses. Truss the duck with string and hang in an airing place for 2 hours or put the duck in the refrigerator overnight without any cover. This will dry the skin of the duck so that it will be crispy.

Bake for 45 minutes or until the skin is reddish brown.

Before serving, pour hot oil over the skin to increase the crispiness. Carve the skin and meat from the duck, serve.

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Do you remember a particular meal or dish the brings back the feeling of family, community, and love? For me, it’s the smell of onions and celery that my mother would sauté early Thanksgiving morning. After she stuffed the bird, the aroma of roasting turkey floated around the house all day. 

For Johnny, the little boy inIrish Luck, Chinese Medicine, his favorite Thanksgiving dish is colcannon, maybe because he could play with his food, making melted butter puddles in his mashed potatoes.


Picture from Simple Recipes, recipe from Kerigold

2 pounds red potatoes, cut into large chunks 

3/4 cup milk 

3/4 teaspoon salt 

6 tablespoons Kerrygold salted butter, plus additional melted butter if desired 

1 cup chopped onion 

6 cups finely shredded green cabbage (or one 10-ounce package) 

1 cup (about 4 ounces) shredded Kerrygold Dubliner® Cheese or Blarney Castle Cheese 

Freshly ground pepper to taste


Cook potatoes in boiling water about 20 minutes or until very tender; drain well and mash with skins on, adding milk and salt. While potatoes are cooking, melt butter in a large skillet. Add onion; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. Add cabbage; cook and stir for 5 minutes more or until very soft. Stir cabbage mixture and Kerrygold cheese into hot potatoes and season with pepper.

Mound onto serving plates and make a well in the center of each. Pour a little melted butter into each well, if desired.


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Chinese Dumplings



2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup water


3 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour

1 cup water

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil


1 pound ground pork



4 scallions, chopped

3 tablespoons cilantro, minced

3 iinches fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil


1/2 cup soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar


To start dough, add starter ingredients in a small bowl. Stir together and let sit for 30 minutes until it foams.Mix starter with other dough ingredients except flour. Stir together well and then slowly start to add flour. Once all the flour is added, bring the dough together in a ball.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is very soft, about 10 minutes. If the dough is ever very sticky, knead in more flour. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl to rise until it triples, about 2.5-3 hours.

For the filling, mince scallions, ginger, and cilantro very fine. Then stir with other filling ingredients  and set aside until needed.

To make dumplings, punch dough and then cut it into quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, stretch it out and flour it lightly. Then cut the dough into 12 pieces. It's okay if they're not perfectly even.

Working with one piece at a time, add about a tablespoon of filling to the middle of the dough and then fold the ends up and over the filling. Twist the top of the dough so it sticks together.

Once you have 12 dumplings done, let them rest for 20-30 minutes before steaming them.

Add the dumplings to a bamboo steamer, leaving some space between each dumpling to prevent them from sticking together, and steam them over a pot or wok until they are cooked through, about 18 minutes. To make sure the dumplings don't stick to the steamer, lightly oil the steamer or lay down some lettuce leaves in the bottom of the steaming racks.

Let the dumplings cool briefly when they come out of the steamer and then serve them immediately with the sauce.

Irish Soda Bread.jpeg

Irish Soda Bread


4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • 2 cup margarine, softened

    • 1 cup buttermilk

    • 1 egg

    • 1/4 cup butter, melted

    • 1/4 cup buttermilk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a large baking sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and margarine. Stir in 1 cup of buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 1/4 cup buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Check for doneness after 30 minutes. You may continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.