For a short time when I was a little girl, parfaits struck me as the absolute height of dessert sophistication. I’m not sure if I actually had one out somewhere or just saw them in a cookbook or movie (one of the soda fountain scenes from the Music Man, maybe?), but they struck me as so fancy, and I wanted to make my own. My “recipe” was layers of vanilla ice cream and crushed up Oreos, and I’m here to tell you it was delicious. And gave me just the spiffy feeling I was looking for. Unfortunately, my zealous eating meant spoon scratches on our tallest drinking glasses, so my mom put a stop to my parfaits (don’t be sorry for me–I just moved to a regular old bowl of vanilla topped with crushed Oreos. Joie and I ate an astonishing amount of ice cream back in our youth). I can’t say that I had that back in the day parfait love in mind when I first decided to make these pumpkin mousse treats, but as soon as I dipped my spoon into the layers the memory came back. Luckily, we seem to have scratch proof glasses, so this dessert is staying on the holiday roster.
As I was scrolling through the side dish recipes in our index, it struck me that Jessica and I are big fans of salads with nuts, cheese, and veggies. No iceberg or romaine for us! Check out this rockstar list of combinations: sweet potatoes+kale+cheddar+almonds, butternut squash+parmesan+walnuts, kale+goat cheese+pecans, brussels sprouts+asiago+walnuts. Today, I’m adding another knockout band of flavors to our favorite salads: cauliflower+cheddar+walnuts (and grapes).