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Food Matters: For whole ham, taking it slow is key

Staff Writer
Austin 360
If you'd prefer not to slow-cook a ham on Easter Sunday, this ham steak with classic cherry glaze is a good option.

Ahead of Easter Sunday, Heather Hunsaker, a recipe developer for the local meal planning site Food on the Table (foodonthetable.com), has several tips for cooking the holiday's signature food, ham.

Most hams purchased at the grocery store are already fully or partially cooked and tend to cook well at lower temperatures for a long period of time, says Hunsaker, a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Plan on cooking the ham in a 300 degree oven for 18 minutes per pound of meat for a bone-in ham. The internal temperature should register 160 degrees when finished. To help prevent the ham from drying out, add a liquid to the roasting pan — such as pineapple juice, apple juice or even cola — and tightly wrap the ham with foil to help reduce evaporation as the meat slowly cooks. You even can cook the ham in a slow cooker for five to six hours. Hunsaker recommends not adding the glaze, if using, until the last 30 minutes of cooking.

The exception to the low-and-slow method is ham steaks, which you can fry in a pan or grill. In this recipe from Food on the Table, Hunsaker cooked the ham steak with a sweet cherry glaze made with jarred preserves.

Ham Steak with Classic Cherry Glaze

1 12-oz. jar cherry preserves

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

1 2 lb. bone-in thick cut ham steak

Preheat charcoal or gas grill. In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients except ham. Simmer for five minutes.

Place ham steak on grill over medium heat. Grill three minutes. Turn ham steak; brush with half of cherry mixture and continue to grill three minutes. Turn again; brush with remaining half of cherry mixture and continue to grill one to two minutes or until ham is glazed and heated through. Serve with any remaining cherry sauce. Serves four.

Whole Foods Market stops selling certain fish

Whole Foods Market has become the first grocery chain in the nation to stop selling fish and other seafood that are considered unsustainable.

In 2010, the Austin-based chain had pledged to stop selling so-called red-rated seafood by Earth Day 2013, but the store announced Friday that it would do so a year ahead of the self-imposed deadline.

All red-rated fish, species that are being overfished or whose current fishing methods harm other marine life or habitats, should be out of stores by Earth Day 2012, which is April 22. This includes Atlantic halibut, gray sole and skate. Red-rated fish orange roughy and bluefin tuna haven't been sold in stores for a number of years.

This news primarily affects the availability of Atlantic cod and sole, two red-rated fish that were to be the only holdouts, but the store decided to eliminate those fish a year early.

The sustainability rating program is a partnership between the Blue Ocean Institute and Monterey Bay Aquarium, which runs the Seafood Watch program.

Keeping both backyard chickens and neighbors happy

It's no coincidence that this year's Funky Chicken Coop Tour falls on Passover and Easter weekend, when eggs are on many of our minds. The self-guided tour, which started in 2009, lets you get a glimpse of some of the most interesting coops in Central Texas and ask questions of experienced poultry keepers. The tour starts Saturday at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m., and you can buy maps for $10 at the Buck Moore Feed & Supply, 5237 N. Lamar Blvd., which is also the information center on the day of the tour. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Green Corn Project. austincooptour.org .