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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Arlene's Truck Stop, Battle Creek, Michigan (with recipes)

I've mentioned before that when we are on road trips we often stop at truck stops for meals. The reason being truck stops tend to have good coffee and excellent home style cooking. Now you can't stop at just any truck stop. The quality of the coffee and food is directly related to how busy the parking lot is. The busier the parking lot the better the truck stop! My husband is very good at finding the excellent truck stops. We've yet to eat at one that hasn't had good food thanks to his well tuned sixth sense.

Arlene's Truck StopArlene's Truck Stop

Arlene's Truck Stop is located at 4647 Columbia Ave. in Battle Creek, Michigan just off of I-94 on exit 92 to the right about a quarter of a mile up the road. The truck stop is quite busy but not fancy. There is a rather small tuck shop with the basics, mainly snack type foods. Fuel is available and there is ample parking for larger rigs. The restaurant is small and quite non-descript but the food is excellent. The home style food portions are large but low priced. A bottomless cup of coffee was $1.50 each. The service was fast and friendly, well above average. You definitely will not be leaving this truck stop hungry!

country fried steak with poached eggsCountry Fried Steak

My husband ordered the country fried steak ($7.59) with American fries, 2 poached eggs and white toast. Country fried steak is easily made at home. It is simply a thin cut of tenderized cube steak or round steak coated in fried chicken coating (eg. Homemade Shake & Bake Coating Mix) or seasoned flour then pan fried. It is usually topped with country gravy. Country (white) gravy is extremely easy to make and quite versatile. It is basically a thicker, seasoned white sauce. You can kick it up a notch by turning white gravy into sausage or bacon gravy. Here's how I make sausage gravy. You can substitute a good quality bacon cut across the slices to form bacon pieces for the sausage.

Sausage Gravy

4 breakfast sausage links or small pattie slices
2 c whole milk
2 tbsp unbleached flour
salt and pepper to taste

Fry the sausage links until cooked through, breaking them up as they fry. When the sausage is nicely browned and resembles the texture of crumbled ground beef remove from the heat. Drain the sausage reserving 2 tbsp of fat. Mix about ¼ c of the milk into the flour in a separate bowl to form a smooth slurry. Return the frypan to a medium heat. Pour in the rest of the milk. Heat while stirring constantly until milk comes to the scald stage (just starting to boil). While stirring pour the flour slurry into the milk and continue stirring and cooking until the mixture thickens to desired consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in the crumbled sausage. Season as desired with salt and pepper if desired.

eggs sunny side upEggs Sunny Side Up

I ordered the ultimate breakfast ($5.79) with ham, 2 eggs sunny side up, hash browns and whole wheat toast. I think every restaurant serves some type of potatoes with their egg breakfast however what is a bit confusing is the terminology used to describe the potatoes. The term American fries was used to describe those included in my husband's meal. However, these are often called home fries or even country cuts. I had hash browns with mine but quite often if you order hash browns you end up with something almost like a semi-mashed home fries or actual home fries or something that looks like strands of French fries cut across to form little cubes of potatoes. These hash browns were the shredded variety and they are quite easy to duplicate at home. Do not be tempted to stir these hash browns while cooking as they will get gluey. Here's my method.

Hash Browns (shredded)

1 - 2 large baking potatoes (eg. Yukon Gold, Russet)

Shred the potatoes. Rinse to remove extra starch. Place the shredded potatoes in a tea towel and press out as much moisture as possible. Pour enough cooking oil to cover the bottom of your frypan. Heat a frypan on medium high. Pour the shredded potatoes into the pan in a shallow layer, about ½- inch thick. Let them cook without disruption for 3 minutes or until just golden brown. Carefully flip and repeat. Remove from pan and serve seasoning with salt and pepper if desired.

2 food lovers commented:

A Year on the Grill said...

you have to eat a hearty breakfast to survive up there

Garden Gnome said...

So true :)