Some Healthy Food Fun:   Dinner and a Movie
Letters to Juliet

On the menu  Chicken Parmesan
Video   Making Chicken Parmesan,   Various scenes from 'Letters to Juliet'
Music  Music from the 'Letters to Juliet Soundtrack'


“Do you believe in destiny?”


I must admit, although a half "hip hop", half "ESPN Sports Jock" kinda modern man, I'm a sucker for a "feel good" movie. Some sort of subconscious symmetry I guess. Anyhoo, I really liked this movie. As soon as the two main characters meet, I knew exactly how the movie was going to end, but I watched anyway cause it seemed like it would be a fun journey.

I think one of the reasons I really got into this movie is because of the great shots of the Italian countryside. My brother and several cousins were all in the army and at one point or another and were stationed in Italy. Me, the college boy of the family, was so jealous of some of the pictures they sent home. But life ain't fair I guess.


Sophie comes across a letter written to a long lost love and becomes determined to help the letter writer find him. The journey takes you all around the Italian countryside in search of the elusive Lorenzo Bartilini.

This Dinner and a Movie would demand something with a little Italian flair, fresh vegetables and quality poultry, but not over complicated to prepare, so I think I'll go with Chicken Parmesan.


Italian Style Chicken Parmesan


Chicken Parmesan

    3 tablespoons organic olive oil
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh organic rosemary leaves
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh organic thyme leaves
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh organic Italian parsley leaves
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    8 (3-ounces each) pasture fed chicken cutlets
    1 1/2 cups Tomato Sauce, (recipe below)
    1/2 cup shredded pastured mozzarella
    16 teaspoons grated pastured Parmesan
    2 tablespoons unsalted pastured butter, cut into pieces


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Stir the oil and herbs in a small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of the cutlets with the herb oil. Heat a heavy large oven-proof skillet over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook just until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the skillet from the heat.

Spoon the marinara sauce over and around the cutlets. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of mozzarella over each cutlet, then sprinkle 2 teaspoons of Parmesan over each. Sprinkle the butter pieces atop the cutlets. Bake until the cheese melts and the chicken is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

    1/2 cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
    1 small onion, chopped
    2 cloves organic garlic, chopped
    1 stalk organic celery, chopped and 1 carrot, chopped
    Himalayan Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 (32-ounce) "BPA free" cans crushed tomatoes
    4 to 6 organic basil leaves and 2 organic dried bay leaves
    4 tablespoons unsalted pastured butter, optional

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat.

Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 2 minutes.

Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper.

Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer covered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick.

Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning.

If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.


I try not to over think why I like a particular movie, because as I keep saying, I'm not a mainstream "Hollywood Movie Machine" kinda guy. But in case some aliens in some distant galaxy, 40,000 years from now are reading blogs from us weird creatures on that blue "third rock from the sun" trying to figure us out, I'll try to make a statement for posterity.

Me-thinks sometimes we gotta look at things how we want them to really be, because maybe that is how it is supposed to really be. If you have ever been in an "uninspired" relationship for several years like I was, you realize there has got to be something more to this relationship thing than obligation and work. Whatever happened to real energy? I think Letters to Juliet makes that monumental point in a very simplistic way. Make sense aliens?



Letters to Juliet trivia:

--Juliet's secretaries really do exist. They are called the Juliet Club and they volunteer to reply to letters left in Verona, as well as organize events in honor of 'Romeo and Juliet'.

--Sono Bugiarda (listed as "Sono Bugiarda (I'm A Believer)" in the soundtrack listing) actually means "I'm a Liar" in Italian.

--Charlie's black car is a Lancia Delta.

--The idea for the film was inspired by the 2006 non-fiction book, "Letters to Juliet", by Lise Friedman and Ceil Friedman, which chronicles the phenomenon of letter writing to William Shakespeare's most famous romantic heroine.

--Gary Winick's last film before he died of brain cancer.

--This is the second time Amanda Seyfried has played a character named Sophie, in arguably two of her most prominent roles. It was also her character's name in Mamma Mia!.

--During Lorenzo's dinner toast, he mentions that Claire lost her "Jack" and he lost his "Rose". "Jack" and "Rose" are the names of the two main characters in James Cameron's Titanic.


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