I had the wonderful opportunity this week to work with friend and talented florist, Emily Stryker at Green Snapdragon Floral Design and Consultation. I met Emily last year when my boyfriend was in a play that she was crewing. She and her husband always brought the best food to our cast parties, which, of course, immediately caught my attention. She and Dan come to our game nights most weeks and Emily’s ability to dominate in pretty much every game we play is seriously impressive! In addition to getting to know Emily as a friend, I learned about her business via Facebook and was intrigued by the eclectic floral designs that she was posting on her page. Emily was familiar with what I was doing on tiramipursuit and we decided to do a collaboration. After all the fun we had, I hope that there will be many more opportunities to work with her in the future!
We set up in Emily’s kitchen, which was full-to-bursting with buckets of flowers for a bunch of weddings for which she is providing arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres (I love this one from her site that has a dinosaur attached!) this weekend. The dinosaur should be a tip-off that Emily is extremely creative with her designs. Emily uses herbs, vegetables and flowering fruit trees from her garden and wild bay laurel and manzanita to make her unique arrangements. When I asked how she uses these unconventional plants in her floral creations, she gave me an example: “I did a wedding once where the bride and groom were using a citrus palette, so I actually incorporated cut citrus fruits in the arrangements.” Emily uses her design savvy to wow, from mixing blush-toned flowers with silver-toned succulents, to making corn husk flowers with sparkling crystals to classic bouquets and bridal crowns.
For our photoshoot, I baked a sage marmalade cake made with cornmeal and rich, fruity olive oil. Because Emily uses fresh herbs in her designs, I made some candied sage to accompany this rustic cake. Emily got to work as soon as I arrived, gathering herbs and even a tiny orange from her yard. I was so excited that she had ranunculus, having posted about my newfound obsession with these blooms on Thursday. We used just a few of her copious amounts of props, which she takes with her to a lot of weddings for use in her arrangements. I think my favorite was her copper kettle, which she stuffed full of colorful blossoms. I’m also in love with her coffee table, a thrifting find from Denver, Colorado, which we used as a backdrop. It was so much fun to watch her assemble these perfect little bunches of greenery into something that matched the feel of the cake I had made, balancing the golden color of the crust and the silvery tones of the crystallized sage perfectly.
Emily’s message to prospective clients is this: “You may want more control over the look and cost of your flowers than you’re able to find with a traditional wedding florist, or you may want to do the flowers yourself but need someone else to take charge, an extra pair of hands, or someone to teach you how to arrange them. You may be planning a destination wedding to the Bay Area or wine country from someplace else and need a local to help with floral resources, or you may be a Bay Area native who has never before thought about where to get flowers for an event. I’m here to help!” Green Snapdragon is also a proud supporter of marriage equality. Visit Green Snapdragon Floral Consultation & Design on Facebook or directly on her site.
Gluten~free Sage + Marmalade Olive Oil Cake
1/3 c marmalade
1 c sugar
3 Tbs honey
3/4 c floral or fruity olive oil plus a little extra for oiling the pan
1 Tbs roughly chopped, fresh sage
1 c gluten~free baking flour (or all-purpose flour if you are not gluten~free)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 c dry polenta
1 Tbs marmalade
1 Tbs honey
2 tsp orange or complimentary liqueur
Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly oil a 9″ springform pan and a piece of tin foil big enough to fit over the top of the pan. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, honey and marmalade. Add the eggs and incorporate. In a thick stream, pour in the olive oil while beating until incorporated. Add the sage and the dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes. Cover with the tin foil and bake for another 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Whisk together the ingredients for the glaze and brush the warm cake with it, on the top as well as the sides. Allow to cool before topping with candied sage and serving.
For the candied sage, you use this basic technique which I will repeat here: You will need caster/superfine sugar and one egg white, whisked, as well as a pastry brush, a cooling rack and some fresh sage leaves. Pour a little sugar into a small bowl to keep from contaminating any you might have left. Brush each leaf with a small amount of egg white, then press into the sugar to coat both sides. Throw away any extra sugar. Allow to dry for a few hours before serving. Candied sage has a very strong flavor, but makes a beautiful garnish. Consider topping individual slices with roughly chopped candied sage before serving.