Last updated on August 4th, 2017
Last week marked a very special anniversary. Happy Birthday, Silver Fox! To celebrate, on Saturday morning we enjoyed some clothes-shopping on my dime. And that evening, we attended a benefit dinner for the Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm in Kinderhook, New York.
The Sylvia Center’s mission is to improve the lives of at-risk children by giving them the opportunity to connect with nature and learn about nutritious and healthy eating through hands-on experiences at the aforementioned organic farm, as well as a learning kitchen in New York City. To learn more, please watch the video clip above.
The dinner — for 400 guests! — was preceded by cocktails and appetizers. One particular appetizer grabbed my attention: a scooped-out slice of zucchini, filled with creamy horseradish sauce and a garnish of orange salmon eggs, or “roe.” While the toppings were lovely, the container itself was a revelation for me. Oh, the possibilities of this farm-to-table finger food!
You might like to make your own version of zucchini cups, just as I did on Sunday. Nothing could be easier to make:
First, grab one or more fresh, young (read: not-too-large) zucchinis. As my accident-prone sous-chef, Mr. Bill, will tell you, baseball bat-size zukes are not suitable for raw eating. They are filled with large seeds, and their flesh is tough not tender.
After you’ve sliced off the ends, cut the zukes into crosswise rounds. I cut the fat ends 1-inch thick, and the narrow ends 1 1/2-inches thick.
Now grab a melon baller…
And use it to scoop out an opening in each round. Pop the scooped out flesh right into your mouth. Or save it for soup.
Ta-dah! It took me all of 60 seconds to make these handsome cups.
Now comes the creative question: With what shall we fill these little rounds?
Well, you can fill them anything you like.
You could, for instance, fill some of the cups with egg salad…
And a garnish of fresh, minced parsley.
Other rounds might invite chicken salad…
And some thinly-sliced scallions.
This cup cried out for a dollop of creme fraiche…
And a thin strip of sun-dried tomato.
Obviously the filling-possibilities are unlimited.
Arrange the filled cups on a pretty platter…
And serve them to your still-sober cocktail guests.
Or, do what I did today, and enjoy the rounds all by yourself for lunch! I can tell you the versions above were absolutely delicious. I felt healthy for eating them, too, because…raw zucchini.
No printable recipe today, because zucchini cups are not, in fact, a “recipe.” They’re simply a culinary technique that I hope you’ll try before zucchini season has passed.
In the comments field below, do give me your thoughts on the Sylvia Center’s work. And if you’re feeling creative, then by all means post your ideas for other no-cook fillings that would compliment the zucchini cups. I’m all ears!
They look delicious Kevin! And they’re so easy to make there’s no excuse not to! And of course Happy Birthday to the Silver Fox!
Yummy! I can’t wait to try!
Jeri Erman says
What a great program the Sylvia Center is offering!! And black bean and zucchini tacos?? I want to learn how to make those too! Thanks Kevin for sharing.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Linda – Easy, yes. Enjoy!
Hi Jeri – Thanks for watching the video. The kids at Sylvia Center are learning terrific life-skills. Black bean and zucchini tacos? On my to-make list!
Brenda Johnson says
Best lunch ever on a hot humid summer day!!! Cool crisp zucchini filled with a delightful selection of tasty things! I had egg salad, chicken and my favorite of all- creme fraiche (so decadent!!!) in the cups Kevin brought me. I ate an entire plate of these- and didn’t feel 1 bit guilty!!! The possibilities are endless of course- limited only by your imagination (and pantry ingredients!) What a healthy, easy to prepare idea Kevin!!! Thanks for sharing!
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Brenda – Thanks for taste-testing. I’m hooked on these Zucchini Cups, so stay tuned for more of ’em!
Looks delicious. Will have to make those when my zucchinis finally start to produce. This gave me an idea for similar cups with cucumbers and smoked mackerel that we caught few days ago. No we did not catch smoked mackerel but we caught them and smoked ourselves.
Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says
So taking it step further, what about grilling the zucchini to get some char on before hollowing and stuffing? Or lightly steaming and chilling the rounds? Might add extra flavor or a different texture. Just a thought. Brilliant idea to use them as a nutritious delivery device for yummy fillings. Looking forward to trying this. Think my first experiment will be with curried chicken salad. Thanks, Kevin.
Mary in Iowa says
What wonderful work the Sylvia Center does! And how wonderful of you to support it. Thank you for doing that and for sharing it with us. Happy Birthday to Silver Fox. May he “live long and prosper.”
Wow! Filled zucchini rounds: brilliant! I’ll be making some today to take to a convention watching neighborhood gathering this evening. I’m thinking cream cheese with basil and just a hint of garlic. Maybe tuna salad with fresh dill. Ripe olive/green pepper/onion/garlic/shredded Swiss/mayo spread. Etc.
Thanks for posting the Sylvia Center video! It’s inspiring to know about this group working to promote health and happiness where it is really needed – with at-risk youth. Thank you for supporting their good work, and thank you for sharing the zucchini rounds technique! Very clever. I am not much of a zucchini fan, but this idea could change that.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Meg – You could try steaming or charring the rounds, but they might become too soft for finger food. Young zucchini is already tender, even when raw!
Hi Mary – Yes. Perfect for convention-watching.
Hi Joanne – Thanks for watching the video. The kids are amazing!
PERFECT for our annual church pool party . . . and every other gathering as well! THANK YOU, Kevin for all your inspiring ideas all year long!
Been making these for years with hummus and various sprinkles of herbs or pimento on top. Always appreciated
OMGOSH! What a WONDERFUL place Sylvia Center is!!! As a prior teacher, and love of the culinary arts, Sylvia Center is on top my list! Kids can be AMAZING ‘if’ they are given a little guidance and opportunity. Wonderful… just WONDERFUL!
Oh yeah… and these Z-Cups are pretty awesome too. I’m thinking I might just have to make some this week. With the scorching temperatures we’ve been having, I haven’t had much of an appetite… these, bein g cool (in more ways than one) just might spur my desire to eat. Hummus, shredded chicken, crab, mini meatball …. oooooh the possibilities are endless. ~ but I have to admit, creme fraiche was not something that came to mind. *shrug* I’m Gane!
Thanks so much for joining me every Sunday morning (for the past ???? years) while I have my coffee 🙂
Elaine R says
Great idea. I have a pot luck bbq coming up and this would be a n easy appie.
Incidentally, if a zucchini is allowed to mature to the hard shell stage, it will store for a few months and makes an acceptable spaghetti squash.
Marjie T. says
Sylvia Center – Fabulous!!!! Will have to learn more:)
Zuke appetizers – great idea…especially now when there are too many in the garden.
Sylvia Center. Such goodness! Loved seeing the “kids’ and how proud they were . . Zukes. I am buying mine this year, mine got powdery mildew and look awful . No fruit at all. UGH! This is a great idea .
Great idea for a gluten intolerant husband and family. I’d suggest scape pesto and a tiny tomato, or a melon ball sized scoop of mozerella and tiny tomato or basil leaf on top. Yummy idea. Thanks.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Debbie, Marjie, and Trudi — Thanks for watching the Sylvia Center video!
Hi Louise – Thanks for the filling-ideas!
Sherry Pace says
Happy birthday to the Silver Fox! Many happy returns of the day. What a delightful technique. I love stuffed vegetables but they are usually cooked – e.g. peppers, cabbage, zucchini. I made an appetizer like this with cherry tomatoes filled with whipped cream cheese with salmon. Only three weeks to the garden tour.
I am so excited!
Love Mr. Bill. How that takes me back. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Jeri Moulder says
OHHHHH those zuchini cups look marvelous…..Gonna make some for my Canasta Buddies next week….Can’t wait to try them with olive tapenade and dips: artichoke-jalepeno and spinach …all from Costco (and delicious!).
Shirley Parran says
Well, being in the south I just had to stuff them with pimento cheese. De-lish!!!
Lisa Grandstaff says
Lovely share, Kevin… both the zucchini cups AND the video. Lovely lovely inspirational program, wow.
Delightful! These wee treasures are calling out for whipped feta! Oh my, oh my.
Thanks so much for all these great ideas.
I don’t care much for zucchini, but the cup and pizza recipe may change my mind! The Sylvia Center Is awesome!
Joy B says
I thinking about how to serve these. Because they seem too big to pop the entire piece in your mouth. And just picking it up & taking a bite seems like it could get messy. So do you serve with small plates & a fork? Of course, if you just eat them all yourself when you’re by yourself, no worries!
I think I would like to make these cooked slightly as a hot app. I imagine cheese and basil with garlic.
I really enjoy all of your wonderful ideas. I especially like the way you teach so that we too may enjoy.
In this freezing weather your adorable zucchini cups are screaming out for chopped up sautéed mushrooms, onions, maybe cheese… even crumbled sausage. Those little cutie cups are a great, versatile, show stopper. Thank you!
Gale Dickert says
Bless you for supporting the Sylvia Center & lending hope to at risk teens! In the 1990’s, I developed the first B&G Clubs in our part of N. Florida. For our first bldg., I renovated a big old two story that had a big kitchen where, as part of our program, we taught cooking classes and proper table manners. Members grew their own big organic garden on Club grounds, cooked the fruit of their labor-& took some veggies home. Good learning experience for all.
Your chosen red carpet complements your color scheme and rich red dining room is beautiful!!
Can’t wait to try zucchini appetizers with the smoked salmon cream cheese I decided to buy for first time yesterday-must have been reading your mind! Will have that when I have guests over on the 4th. THANKS for all your terrific cooking & gardening ideas!! And a belated Happy B’day to the Silver Fox!
Mariska L says
Hi Kevin, thanks for this great appetizer idea. I think I will try piping in a few vegan pates recipes.
Happy to see the Silvia Center doing such good works.
Happy Birthday Mr. Fox!
I am planning on putting chopped baked apples-spiced with cinnamon and cardamom in my zucchini cup with a small spear of cheddar cheese sticking out the top! This idea has my brain creating all kinds of goodies!
Pam R says
Looks good! I’ll try this soon!
Barbara in Houston says
Thanks for the zucchini idea! So easy. I will serve them at my next gin rummy game day, the last Friday of each month. This Friday I made dainty open-faced crustless cucumber sandwiches and also radish sandwiches. Delicious! I never saw the ladies gobble down our goodies so fast. I have enough for everyone to have some to take home.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Barbara in Houston – Your cucumber sandwiches sounds wonderful! Enjoy the zuke appetizers!
Beth Thomerson says
What an inventive way to use up endless summer zucchini!
Lovely post, as usual! I like to do something similar with English Cucumbers in the fall/winter. I usually do smoked salmon minced and mixed with sour cream and creme fraiche and top with capers, and maybe a sprinkle of crunchy pumpernickel crumbs.
Kathleen Neville says
What a great opportunity for these kids! There should be a Sylvia center in every town and city! Can’t wait to make these z-cups! Kevin I love all your great recipes!
Mary W says
I’m going to try this stuffed with a mixture of orzo, lemon juice, pumpkin seed oil, sun dried tomatoes and chopped artichoke hearts and vidalia onions. or maybe use quinoa instead. Or maybe black beans and corn kernels. Can’t wait to experiment – of course, the colors will be very important to the decision. After I drain the zucchini from the fritter recipe, I’ll add the resulting juice and add scoups of flesh from this recipe to make a cold soup to go with the hot fritter and cold squash bites. What a fantastic, healthy lunch – YUM. Maybe a refreshing zucchini, carrot and orange juice blended drink to wash it all down. Watermelon for dessert. Might need to change this to a fun garden supper instead. You are inspirational!
Stuff with cream cheese and Scottish orange marmalade.
Kelly Dinatti says
Cream cheese and a bit of smoked salmon..maybe a few capers or fresh chives
Barbara in Houston says
Kevin, you are brightness and love for a Sunday in quarantine.
Oh Kevin! I could definitely be one of your “sober” cocktail friends.
Priscilla Zachary says
Our Flower Lovers Garden club will absolutely love these, can’t wait for my turn to be a hostess, certainly with the mostess! Thank You Kevin.
pat doyle says
Wondering how long ahead of the unveiling I can do?
I’m doing 2 different Boursin cheese and third one hummas.
Just because in fridge. Can’t wait
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Pat – Should be fine if prepared a few hours ahead of time. Enjoy!