Bemus Point Innkeeper Shares Her Recipes

Donna LaMonica-Sample was able to realize her 30-year dream of owning a bed and breakfast.

From the angle in which one approaches The Inn at Pheasant Run after driving up the lamp post-studded, winding driveway, it appears to be a moderately-sized house. When crossing the threshold into the foyer it is puzzling, because there is much more house on the inside than on the outside. Owner and Innkeeper Donna LaMonica-Sample explains the reason may be because the house is built in a Z-shape and much of it cannot be seen from the driveway.

One very large room after another fills the downstairs. The dining room boasts a large fireplace. A long table with five wooden chairs on each of the longest sides and an upholstered chair at each end, dominates the room. Three additional tables, with the capability of seating four to five each have been placed around the room. A large family, a women’s group or a combination of the guests from the night before can be seated at the round table in the sunny breakfast room that is located off the dining room. Nearby is the large, long kitchen with two sink areas. A massive Viking gas range is centered in a bank of cabinets with more cabinets across the room.

Family portraits cover one of the floor to vaulted ceiling walls in “The Red Room” or living room, with a very large fireplace on the opposite wall. Hand-carved cherry columns, each topped with a lion’s head, support the matching mantel. In the corner, hidden behind double doors, is a small wet bar.

“I wish I could take one of the lion’s heads with me when I leave this house, because my mother stained them,” La-Monica-Sample says. “I also would love to take a portion of the kitchen counter, which my children would sit on and visit when I was working.”

Centrally located in the house and between the kitchen and living room is the Hearth Room, with rustic beams, primitive stairs made by the first and only other owner, Dr. Helen Hall and one more of the seven fireplaces found in the home. This section of the house was the original small house that was moved to the property for the Halls’ summer home. Dr. Hall was an artist and had the home expanded five times.

“We doubled the size of the house, because we needed more bedrooms,” LaMonica-Sample says.

The exterior of the house and surrounding grounds are as interesting and full of surprises as the interior. The inground pool catches the eye as you step out onto one of the three stone or brick patios, but soon thereafter the four acre pond comes into view. Stone steps lead to a wooden walkway which connects to a large gazebo that is positioned over the water. A deck surrounds this unique structure. Several walking trails lead into the wooded areas of the property. The massive size is fully apparent when turning back toward the three-level, 10,000-square-foot home with its wrap-around deck, two balconies and second story porch.

Although LaMonica-Sample has lived in the home for nearly 30 years, it has only been used for a bed and breakfast for the last 15.

“I’d wanted a bed and breakfast for 30 years and my son suggested opening one in this house,” she says.

Her guests have a choice of six bedrooms, with one called “Grandma’s Attic” after her mother, one called “The Grandkids Room” after her grandchildren and each of the others being named after the child that grew up in it.

“It is a non-smoking B and B, inside and out,” she explains. “It is used for small intimate weddings on the inside and the maximum size of weddings on the outside is one hundred twenty. People rent it for baby showers and bridal showers.”

LaMonica-Sample says she also holds a Bible study in the house once a week.

The Inn is also known for its original recipes. LaMonica-Sample doesn’t remember her mother giving her cooking lessons, but says “I used to stand on a chair while she was cooking. She was a phenomenal baker and I can’t bake for anything.”

LaMonica-Sample especially remembers her mother’s resourcefulness. “My mother was a very good, but frugal cook,” she says. “She cooked mustard greens, burdock, dandelion and cowslips and leeks. When we grew up on Fairmount, it was country and she would pick in the fields behind our house. She would use the top two leaves of the milkweed and she got the squash flowers from our neighbor. She could identify every tree, leaf and flower.”

“My Uncle Chuck grew fava beans and my mom would always take the thin shell, which is bitter, off of the bean, which makes the bean split in half.”

“Another person I learned to cook from was my Aunt Julia DiMinuco,” LaMonica-Sample says. She recalls the time she was given beef tongue and went to her aunt for instruction for the preparation.

“She taught me how to make it in a pressure cooker. It was delicious and fell apart.”

Mom’s Stuffed Artichoke recipe was handed down from her grandmother., while the Minestrone Soup recipe came from a neighbor, who told LaMonica-Sample “when I say you just open cans, you really just open cans.”

“I changed the recipe by doubling the amount of tomatoes, adding more vegetables and adding black olives,” she says.

The homeowner spent a few years in the Army after graduating high school. She was in Medical Company and worked on the burn unit at Brooke Army Hospital at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After going to school for social work, she worked in the mental health field at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“I loved the army and I would have stayed in,” she says. “(But) my whole goal in life was to have children and back then you could be married, but not have children.”

LaMonica-Sample has six children — two daughters and four sons — a foster daughter, 14 grandchildren and three foster grandchildren. A massive German Shepherd named Gunnar, who is a rescue dog, watches over the property.

Reservations for the Bemus Point area inn can be made by calling 386-4174 or by emailing Visit their website at

Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

1 lb ground sausage (I use Jimmy Dean)

8 oz softened cream cheese

1 c grated parmesan cheese

22 jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook sausage in frying pan until browned. Combine cream cheese and parmesan cheese with sausage. Cut peppers lengthwise. Remove all seeds. Rinse peppers well. Stuff with sausage mixture. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 20 minutes until sausage is golden brown. (Small sweet peppers may be used instead of jalapeno peppers.

The Inn at Pheasant Run’s Favorite Breakfast Sandwich

Italian bread sliced 1-inch thick

olive oil

thin pieces of Asiago cheese or provolone


beefsteak tomato, ripe

2 eggs


Lightly coat Italian bread on both sides with olive oil. Grill in frying pan on one side. Turn bread over and place thin slices of cheese on it. Cover pan to melt cheese. Remove bread from pan and place on plate. Saute a large leaf of kale in olive oil. Place over Italian bread and cheese. Slice tomato and place over kale. Fry 2 eggs in olive oil. Keep yolk soft. Place eggs over kale and tomato. Avocado can be placed over tomato or on side for garnish.

Minestrone Soup (Super easy and the best.)

olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

5 cloves of garlic, chopped in small pieces

10 small red potatoes, halved

1 zucchini squash

1 yellow squash

1 large bag frozen Mediterranean or Italian vegetables

1 large bag frozen mixed vegetables

4 cans diced tomatoes

2-3 cans red kidney beans

2-3 cans light kidney beans

2-3 cans large butter beans

2-3 cans any small white beans

1 can tomato paste

1 can chick peas

1 can of black olives, drained

8 c beef broth or 8 c boiling water with beef paste

dried sweet basil, dried oregano or Italian seasonings to taste

hand full of fresh parsley (follow directions)

1 lb ditalini pasta

Freshly grated Asiago or any preferred cheese

Coat the bottom of a very large soup pot with olive oil. Saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add potatoes, squash and bagged vegetables to pot and stir to coat with olive oil. Add cans of beans, do not drain. Add drained black olives. Add beef broth and dried herbs. Simmer soup for 2 hours or more. The longer the better. Soup is better the next day. Add fresh parsley to warm pot of soup the day you are serving. When soup is nearly ready, cook pasta “al dente”. Do not add pasta to soup. Put the amount of pasta you desire in soup bowl and then add hot soup. Top with freshly grated Asiago cheese or your choice of grated cheese.

Mom’s Stuffed Artichokes

fresh artichokes

1 lemon or lemon juice


Italian bread crumbs

grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

olive oil

garlic powder

black pepper


Fill a pan with cold water. Add juice of 1 lemon to keep the artichoke green in color.

To prepare Artichokes:

Cut off stem and peel. Cut top of artichoke. Clip top of all remaining leaves for more attractive look. Add artichokes and stems to cold water. Let soak while making stuffing.


Combine 1 egg for each artichoke used and equal amounts of bread crumbs and cheese in mixing bowl. Mix to a soft consistency. Remove artichokes from water. Open each artichoke with fingers to loosen the leaves. Place in pot. Line the entire pot with artichokes, making sure the fit is tight enough so the artichoke will not move when water added. Sprinkle black pepper and garlic powder to taste inside each artichoke. Drizzle olive oil over each. Add stuffing to each artichoke, lightly pressing the stuffing inside. Top with stuffing. Place pan on stove. Fill with enough water to cover the artichokes, but not the stuffing on the top. Add about a † cup of olive oil. Cook on high heat until water reaches a full boil. Lower heat and simmer until outer leaves are soft. This takes about 1Ç hours. If water becomes low, add more hot water. The water in the pan is good for dipping Italian bread. The less extra water you add, the tastier the broth becomes.

Mom’s Fava Beans

fresh fava beans

olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or more, if desired

salt and pepper to taste

To prepare fava beans:

Open the large pods. Remove beans. Remove outer skin from each bean. The bean will become 2 pieces after skin is removed. The skin can be kept on but the taste is bitter. To a frying pan, add fair amount of olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Heat oil. Saute garlic and chopped onions until tender. Add beans to pot and saute until soft and tender. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

Roast Rack of Lamb with Mint

1 rack of lamb or any lamb roast

1 medium shallot, chopped

4 garlic cloves

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 c olive oil

1 1/2 c fresh mint leaves (no stems)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In food processor, add shallots, garlic, mustard, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mint leaves. Pulse until medium textured paste forms, about 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat cast-iron skillet that is large enough to accommodate lamb over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil to skillet. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place in skillet fat side down. Sear meat on both sides until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove lamb. Spread the mint paste over lamb. Place in shallow baking pan. Roast until lamb is medium rare or a thermometer inserted registers 130 degrees. Remove from oven and let rest at least 10 minutes with foil tented over roast. When ready to serve, slice to desired thickness.

Strawberry Punch Bowl Dessert

2 c sour cream

5 oz can evaporated milk

12 oz whipped topping

3/4 c powdered sugar

1 angel food cake, torn into pieces

2 qt strawberries, sliced

15 oz package strawberry glaze

Combine in a mixing bowl sour cream, evaporated milk, whipped topping and powdered sugar. Beat with electric mixer until smooth. Fold in pieces of cake. Spoon half of mixture into punch bowl. In a separate bowl combine sliced strawberries and glaze. Top layer of cake mixture with layer of strawberry mixture. Add remaining cake mixture to punch bowl and top with remaining strawberry mixture. Refrigerate overnight or can be served the same day it is made.