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Manischewitz! Local contestant in in national cook-off

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Mazel Tov to Deborah Leebove, daughter of Joyce Foster (the former city councilwoman who was recently sworn in as a state senator), for reaching the finals of the Manischewitz National Cooking Competition. The Denver resident had her recipe chosen out of thousands, and is now one of six finalists for the $25,000 grand prize.

Leebove entered her ''Mani Meatloaf" recipe, which featured a variety of Manischewitz products. It was one of fifteen recipes she experimented with after discovering the contest.

"Well, my mom gave me my grandma Beverly's recipe box and I saw a recipe for meatloaf," she says of her prize recipe. "I hadn't thought of using Manischewitz products with meatloaf, but I started to experiment using Manischewitz borscht to come up with the recipe. I also used their garlic tam tam crackers and the onion soup mix." 

Contestants only have an hour to prepare and cook their recipes, she explained, and a normal meatloaf would never cook in that amount of time. So she used a muffin tin to create "mini" -- or, with the use of Manischewitz products -- "Mani" meatloaf.

Leebove will be cooking live for the grand prize at the New York Marquee Marriott on February 13, in front of a prestigious judging panel that includes Todd Coleman, the food editor of Saveur magazine and Emily Kaiser, the associate food editor of Food & Wine magazine.

Leebove will be bringing her grandma's recipe tin and rolling pin to the finals for luck. And with a little more luck, she'll have the chutzpah to bring that prize back to Denver.

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