For The Press

Whether they are from your garden, the farmers' market, or the produce section of your grocer, nothing captures the smell and look of summer like fresh vegetables. This is especially true if you simmer vegetables together, allowing their aromas to be released and the different flavors to mingle.

In this summer soup, onion and garlic provide the underlying flavor. The medley of carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, potatoes and corn provides appetizing rich colors.

They compose an earthy blend of flavors and cancer protective nutritional value - low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with potassium, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Once the chickpeas are in the mix, they add subtle nutty taste. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are rich in fiber and a good source of protein.

The basil and chives garnish imparts a pleasant Mediter-ranean quality to the dish. In fact, chives enhance everything from vegetables and baked potatoes to salads and soups.

You might want to consider growing them in a container on a sunny windowsill - bring summer to your culinary space year round. It's easy to do.

Simply select a chive plant from a garden or garden store. Remove a clump with the roots about the size of your fist. Use a 6 to 8 inch pot. Put an inch or two of gravel in the bottom. Then fill the pot a little over half full with a good potting soil.

Next, hold the chive clump in place and finish filling the pot with potting soil, covering the roots. Gently pat the soil. Cut about a quarter off the top of the plant to stimulate new growth. Chives need good light so set them in a sunny window. Don't overwater, but sprinkle to moisten them uniformly. Harvest chives sparingly for the first 8 months or so by removing only about half of the new growth from the plant. You also could grow chives from seeds, but replanting is the easiest method. With proper care, chives will fill out and provide a bounty for enhancing many of the dishes you prepare, especially Summer Veggie Soup.

From the American Institute for Cancer Research