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Caesar Crisps, Summer Produce


A crunchy, garlic-flavored snack called Just Crisps, Caesar Flavor, has been named best snack or hors d'oeuvre in a competition held by the National Assn. for the Specialty Food Trade. The award was announced at the International Fancy Food and Confection Show in New York earlier this month.

The crisps are part of a snack line produced by Just Off Melrose, a West Hollywood catering and event-planning firm. The line, which also includes Just Croutons and Just Chips, was one of seven finalists for best product line in the contest.

The Caesar crisps are long, thin, diagonal slices of sourdough bread seasoned with butter, garlic, spices and Parmesan cheese and baked until golden brown. The chips are small toast rounds, which come Caesar style, with sun-dried tomatoes or plain. The crisps are also available plain or sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar.

These upscale snacks are priced accordingly. A six-ounce package of the Caesar crisps is $5.49. They're available at Gelson's, Pavilions, Bristol Farms, Irvine Ranch Market, Hughes, Mayfair, Westward Ho and Vicente Foods.

Slathering pancakes with syrup isn't the way to go if you're trying to lose weight. However, it's possible to get that natural sweet flavor without as many calories as you'd expect. Knott's Berry Farm Foods has just introduced five reduced-calorie fruit syrups that contain 45 to 50 calories per fluid ounce (two tablespoons). This is about half the amount in Knott's regular syrups, the company says. The five flavors are apple cinnamon, apricot, blueberry, boysenberry and country, which contains 3% real maple syrup. They're in most supermarkets now. The suggested retail price for the 12-ounce bottles is $1.99.

It's the ideal season to make that all-time California favorite, tossed green salad. Iceberg lettuce is now in peak supply. Also abundant are romaine, red and green leaf lettuce, spinach and such colorful salad additions as tomatoes, green peppers, broccoli, carrots and zucchini.

Bartlett pears from the Sacramento River Valley are finally arriving. They're later than usual this year because of cool weather. California-grown gala apples are coming in too, but you'll pay generously for them because supplies are limited. Mexican mangoes have been a great buy, selling at three for a dollar recently. And cantaloupe prices should be dropping because the melons are plentiful, and sweet too.

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