First I prepared the beets by scrubbing them, then chopping off the greens and slicing the bottom so they would sit flat in the baking dish.
I placed them in a baking dish in about an inch of water before baking them at 350 for maybe 45 minutes.
I baked them after dinner one night, knowing I needed to get started on the beet experiment but not being able to find enough time to do the baking and make the salad by dinner-time on any particular day. Then I threw them in a baggie in the fridge for a few days. But eventually I worked up the nerve to make the salad. I love trying new veggies, and while I like pickled beets, the fresh beet is a whole new animal for me. So I put the gloves back on and peeled them. I wasn't able to just slide the skin off like with a blanched tomato; maybe I didn't cook them long enough for that. I ended up using a paring knife to remove the skin. Then I sliced them into eighths. So far, so good. I sliced up two oranges and tossed them with the beets, a quarter cup of blue cheese crumbles, two ounces of walnut pieces, and a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, with some olive oil and salt and pepper. It was gorgeous served over a bed of romaine, see for yourself:
And after I picked the beets out, it was quite good. I know! I wanted to love them, I really did. And my list of "no way" foods is really, really short. But it just got longer by one: fresh beets. Maybe. A friend gave me a beet salad recipe that is different from what I did here, and she swore her kids and husband loved it. So I will give beets one more try. It doesn't hurt that they're pretty.