School is starting soon and new students are filing into their dorms. Some smaller towns feel the impact more than cities and become a “college town.” I spent my college years in one of the greatest, loudest, and most fun of those college towns. I’m talking about YOU Gainesville. It was Move In Day for UF students last week and I’m feeling nostalgic.
New and returning student floods the small town of Gainesville and instantly explode the population count. Streets are filled with traffic, Target is packed, and Publix is out of appetizers and cookies. Freshman are excited to start their new college lives just as much as the returning students are anxious to add more memories within the few years they have left in college. Unless you go to grad school.
When the fall semester starts, the college parties become numerous. Especially themed parties. The single most popular event theme was some sort of beachy or tropic Polynesian party. And considering how many organizations are at big schools, that’s quite a lot of luaus in a single year.
Tropical themed parties do fit pretty well at Florida being a state of palm trees, beaches, and year-round warm weather. The decoration for these themed events were always spectacular. Some groups went as far as transporting sand to their backyard or even inside their fraternity house for a private beach party. But I don’t remember any food. I was a hungry college kid and would of loved to have some Paleo Polynesian meatballs at a luau! With coconut!
These Paleo Polynesian meatballs are mixed with some carrot, onion, and spices and are combined with a pineapple apricot sauce. Apricots were pretty ripe and tempting now, and I couldn’t resist! The combination of spices and sweetness is just pure joy! They’re a perfect appetizer for luaus or Hawaiian themed parties!
- 1 lb of Ground Beef
- 1 lb of Ground Pork
- 2 Eggs
- 2-3 Carrots, finely chopped (about ¼ cup worth)
- 1 Medium Red Onion, finely chopped
- 3 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped
- ¼ cup of Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
- 2 Tablespoons of Red Pepper Flakes
- 1¾ cup of Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- ½ cup of Polyneisan Sauce
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 4 Ripe Apricots
- 15 oz Canned Pineapple
- ¼ cup of Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce)
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 1 teaspoon of Grated Fresh Ginger
- 3 Tablespoons of Raw Honey
- (optional) 1 Tablespoon of Arrowroot
- Core the apricots and puree in a food processor until smooth,
- Add the pineapple and juices, garlic, coconut aminos/soy sauce, and ginger in the food processor and puree until they become a nice smoothie.
- Transfer the puree to a saucepan and simmer on low for about 15 minutes with an occasional stir.
- Taste a bit and see if you want to add the honey for extra sweetness. Add more or less if you like.
- Remove about ½ cup worth of the Polynesian sauce into the bowl and reserve for the meatballs. You may chill this portion while preparing the meatballs. Let the rest of the sauce continue to simmer until chow time.
- Optionally add the arrowroot to thicken the sauce.
- Preheat the oven to 375F.
- Toast the coconut flakes on a non stick pan at medium low heat until they are tanned. Stir often to prevent over browning. Remove from heat and store in a bowl. About 1.5 cups of toasted coconut are need to coat the raw meatballs, the rest are sprinkled on top after baking.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the pork and beef, carrots, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, coconut aminos/soy sauce, red pepper flakes, and eggs in a large bowl. Fold until combined, careful not to overmix.
- Arrange 1.5 cups of the toasted coconut flakes, ½ cup of the reserved Polynesian sauce, and meat mixture in an assembly line.
- Scoop out about one heaping tablespoon or 30 grams of the meat mixture and roll into ball. Or use a cookie scooper.
- Dredge the raw meat ball into the Polynesian sauce.
- Lightly coat with the toasted coconut flakes. Do not use too much coconut because it will wick out all the yummy juices from the meat ball and dry it out. No more than 1T per meat ball. It’s best to undercoat and add more flakes after cooking (that’s what the extra coconut is for :))
- Arrange coated balls on a cooking sheet lined with silpat or foil.
- Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes.
- When done, you may add the extra coconut flakes and make it look pretty. Dip in Polynesian sauce and enjoy!
- Inspired by Melissa’s Bora Bora Fireballs