Archive for the ‘Bed and Breakfast News’ Category

The birth of the breakfast June Bug

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

I’m always thinking about food, at least new items for breakfast here a the William Miller House Bed and Breakfast.  Last week I was out planting some vegetables and herbs for the season and while planting the basil it occurred to me that I always plant too much basil.  While I do use some for pesto for our vegan guests I rarely make it for Pat and myself, mostly because Pat does not really care for it.

So what to do this summer when the basil is in full swing?  How about a new first course, so with the basil I have on hand, store bought, I embark on a crazy idea, making a basil mousse, now I do not think the idea of making mousse from herbs is new, but it is for me and our guests as well.  The dish is actually a Basil white-chocolate mousse over a layer of strawberry (did I mention that its strawberry season here in Virginia) greek yogurt.  After they finished the dish and licked the glasses I suggested that they have the honor or coming up with a name and the name they chose was a “June Bug”, sort of a play on a grasshopper, the cocktail made with creme de menthe.

Basil white-chocolate mouse over ripe strawberry Greek Yogurt

Basil white-chocolate mousse layered over strawberry yogurt (June Bug)

The process. Because I knew that this would not be something to whip up in the morning I decided to make it the night before.  Besides the gelatin in the mousse really needed time to set up.

The first step was to puree some of the fresh strawberries that we had picked at the local berry farm.  I always lean towards fresh local ingredients if at all possible and it is the beginning of the strawberry season here in Virginia. Following the pureeing of the berries I grabbed some of my favorite Greek Yogurt and added some of the pureed strawberry to the yogurt and stirred it to combine and placed it in the bottom of 4 – 9.25 ounce martini glasses. I then place the glasses in to the fridge.

The next step was to make the mousse.  I grabbed a pot and put some heavy cream into the pot and then brought it up to a slight simmer and added the basil leaves and removed it from the heat.  I allowed the mixture to steep for 10-minutes, then pureed in my Vita-prep.  I got mine several years ago when Jimmy Snead of the restaurant The Frog and the Redneck closed his restaurant and was selling of his equipment. (more…)

William Miller House goes mobile

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Guess what?  We forgot to tell you that several months ago we added a mobile website, no iPhone required, for you road warriors and for folks that use their smartphone for everything and why not they are cool!  Of course our mobile site is not magic so it can’t make a room available when its not, but if your on the go and remember you need to make a reservation it will make the process a bit less complex from your phone.  You iPad users out there, we know who you are so you will still get the full website. Also for speed and efficiency we kept it basic and straightforward; after all it still a phone.


We look forward to seeing you all very soon.



Omelette Mondays beginning in May

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Most everyone has heard of Julia Child (1912-2004). It was in Paris that Julia met two French women, Simca Beck and Louisette Bertholle, who were writing a cookbook aimed at an American audience. They needed an American collaborator. Julia was perfectly suited for the job. She began testing recipes. For nearly ten years, she devoted herself to writing, testing and re-writing. She confided to her sister-in-law: “Really, the more I cook the more I like to cook. To think it has taken me 40 yrs. To find my true passion (cat and husband excepted).”

She was invited to appear on a television program called “I’ve Been Reading”, produced by WGBH, Boston’s public television station. The host of the show was reluctant to take time for a subject as trivial as cooking. But Julia was undeterred. She arrived with a hot plate, giant whisk and eggs, and made an omelet. Twenty-seven viewers wrote to the station, wanting to see more. The station produced three pilots, then launched into production of The French Chef. Produced and directed by Russ Morash, the series broadcast a total of 199 programs, produced between 1963 and 1966.By the end of 1965,

The French Chef was carried by 96 PBS stations. Sales of Mastering the Art of  Cooking” were picking up speed – 200,000 copies sold. In 1965, Julia won a Peabody. In 1966, she won an Emmy. Time put her on the cover in a feature article on American food – “Everyone’s in the Kitchen.”

But this series is not about Julia, although America will miss her, it about Romaine Chatard Champion, the author of of the book “The Art of Cooking Omelettes” published in 1963. (more…)

Spring is here! It’s Garden Week in Virginia!

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Spring is definitely here in Richmond Virginia.  Azaleas, dogwoods, irises and other mid-Spring blooms are evident everywhere in Richmond’s historic Fan District.  Our urban yard is also showing signs of spring.  Here, at the William Miller House Bed and Breakfast, azaleas, camellia, and even our front-and-center dogwood are in their glory.  The weather is milder and porch-sitting, despite the pollen, is back in season – as is relaxing in the courtyard garden.

Here’s the latest blooms in our garden:

Azaleas show their color

Dogwood welcomes guests at Richmond's premier bed and breakfast

Bottlebrush, anyone?

But, this weekend begins Historic Garden Week in Virginia, with homes and gardens across Virginia open to ticketholders.  Often termed America’s Largest and Grandest Open House, Garden Week features tours in Richmond on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Information. So make your plans and y’all come!


Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Virginia’s First Lady Plants First-Ever Grapevines in the Executive Mansion Garden

First Lady Maureen McDonnell with help

In commemoration of Virginia Wine Week-Love by the Glass, as well as Acte 12 of Jamestown Requiring Settlers to Plant and Tend Grapevines, First Lady Maureen McDonnell planted 10 Chambourcin grapevines in the garden of the Executive Mansion in late March.  She was assisted by Jason Tesauro, Chief Sommelier and National Sales Director and Luca Paschina, General Manager and Winemaker at Barboursville Vineyards; Lucie Morton, nationally renowned viticulturist and vineyard consultant; Mansion Chef Todd Schneider; and Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore. (Pictured left to right with First Lady.)

The vines are being planted with the intent that they will be flourishing for the Executive Mansion’s two hundred anniversary in 2013. Completed in 1813, the Virginia Governor’s Mansion is the oldest continually occupied residence in the United States. It is unique beyond its vast history as no other historic house belongs to the people of Virginia; no other has been home to a procession of fifty-four governors and their families; and no other serves as both residence of the Commonwealth’s chief executive and a place of official business. The grapevine planting is among a number of special activities that will commemorate its rich history.

CLICK HERE to view more pictures:

For information about tours of the Executive Mansion.