She does have pots and pans including a dutch oven and the cover it came with. She also has what she calls a "big strainer." A colander.
So here's how you steam when you don't have a steamer.
If you're lucky, you're colander is basically as wide as your dutch oven -- and the handles will make up the rest of the way. In which case, you can put water in the dutch oven, put the colander on top of that (on top, not submerged, you're not boiling, you're steaming) and then you can put the top of the dutch oven on.
Robin's local grocer had a good sale on asparagus so that's what she worked on.
Put 2 cups of water in the dutch oven. Put the asparagus in the colander and place colander so that it hangs from the sides of the dutch oven. (I would recommend you do this with a metal colander but my sister can actually use her plastic one -- but it's very thick and very old.) Turn the oven burner on high so that you can get the water under the colander (under) boiling so that the steam rises to steam the asparagus. I like to sprinkle with lemon juice, fresh. I like to cut one lemon and squeeze both halves on to the asparagus. If you're a butter person you can put a small pat of butter on some asparagus. Cover the dutch oven once the water is boiling and putting off steam.
You're going to steam for ten to fifteen minutes.
It's then ready to eat.
If you have a steamer, I'm going to assume you already know how to use it.
Now for the economy.
"Obama ignores jobs report" screams a Politico headline. What jobs report? Don Lee (Los Angeles Times) reports:
The nation's job market took a sharp turn for the worse last month as employers abruptly curbed their hiring and the unemployment rate inched up — grim evidence that the economic recovery was faltering.
The new Labor Department report, which showed the unemployment rate rising to 9.1%, was bad news for millions of Americans seeking work and for the hundreds of thousands of newly minted college graduates whose prospects are increasingly uncertain.
But beyond those looking for work, the downturn in hiring signaled continuing troubles for the rest of the nation: A weaker economy — along with the increased risk of sliding into a new recession — reduces the likelihood that personal income will rise or that families will better themselves financially in other ways.
Liz Halloran (NPR) wonders if the unemployment rate could keep Barry from being re-elected:
It's become de rigueur to note that Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the late 1930s was the last American president reelected when the unemployment rate was above 7.2 percent.
Given the current 9.1 percent rate and stalled recovery, a number well above that appears a near certainty come Election Day 2012.
Obama faces not only that dismal harbinger, but something more immediate: increasing pressure from his party's liberal wing to refocus on job creation in a political environment now dominated by pressure to reduce the nation's debt.
"For most people, jobs are front and center," says Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
"He really lost control of this debate early, and he has to try and get back on the theme of job growth," Baker says. "Or he'll sit through the rest of his term in stagnation."
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday: