Dear Heloise: I've been a closet reader of your column for many years because it appears on the same page as my daily crossword puzzle. It is a great source of many useful hints and has led me to a discovery that I find especially pleasing. I have always enjoyed biscuits and gravy but have rarely indulged.
Heloise to the rescue! I now more frequently enjoy this forbidden repast by making a batch of your delicious, feather-light "angel biscuits'' and topping them with a simple white sauce and a crumbled-up veggie-sausage patty. Quite an acceptable compromise! – R.J.S. in Hammond, Ind.
Many older recipes can be updated. For those readers who would like to make the original Heloise's Angel Biscuits recipe that has been printed in this column for more than four decades, here it is:
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Grease a baking sheet. Let the yeast dissolve in the warm water and set aside. Mix all the dry ingredients together in the order listed. Cut the shortening into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk and the yeast mixture. Thoroughly blend the mixture. The dough can be refrigerated or can be kneaded lightly. (After removing from the refrigerator, let it rest at room temperature to allow to rise.) Roll out on a floured board (update: Put wax paper on your kitchen counter for easy cleanup). Cut out the biscuits with a biscuit cutter, or I use a small drinking glass. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and let the dough rise a little before baking. Bake them for 12 to 15 minutes. This recipe makes biscuits that really are as light as "angel wings'' and fluffier than a cotton ball. — Heloise
P.S.: To cut calories even more for biscuits and gravy, I use a nonfat country-gravy mix.
Dear Heloise: When I am having lunch at home alone and am having pickles with a sandwich, to avoid pickle juice all over the plate, I just invert the pickle-jar lid on the plate and put the pickle on that. No messy sandwich. – Carey in Valparaiso, Ind.
I love pickles, especially dill and sour! I save the jar and juice, cut up a cucumber and drop in the slices. Let sit for day in the fridge and you have tasty, crunchy cuke slices. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: Giving a gift to friends seems to have become easier. I use a canning jar and put in the correct measurements of necessary ingredients for a chosen recipe, then attach the recipe. I wrap the top of the lid with a colorful bow and have a homemade gift to give. – A.R. from Virginia
Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 210-435-6473; e-mail: Heloise@Heloise.com. © King Features Syndicate Inc.