Okay, beets. I get pounds and pounds of them every summer from our pals with an organic farm, so I had to learn.
Roasted beets, the easy way
Wash, trim any really excessive hanging hairs, and cut off the greens leaving just a little bit attached (1/2 cm or so, give or take). If possible, do not puncture the beets. Toss in a little decent olive oil, sprinkle generously with salt and a little pepper. Get a big sheet of heavy aluminum foil, fold in half, put the beets in the center, and then wrap up with the foil, being sure to overlap each edge and fold over tightly. Place in a 350 oven (give or take), on a small sheet or the like, and roast for a good 45 minutes to 1:15, depending on size. To test, simply stab a fat one through the foil with a long toothpick or the like: it should go in smoothly, with just a little resistance. Remove from the oven and let cool. Unwrap the package. With a paring knife, trim off the greens. Under cold running water, slide the skin off the beets: it will come off easily. Now cut your beets into wedges or whatever shape you like.
They will still stain the world, but not nearly as much, and you don't lose any flavor. I reheat them in a small saucepan with a dab of butter. When hot, fold very lightly into the other vegetables: the staining will be minimal.
Even easier, and incorrectly often derided by people who haven't tried them right,
Boiled Beets Done Right
Wash, trim, and peel the beets, then cut in fat wedges. Put in a saucepan that they fill about halfway. Add water to cover by an inch or more, plus a good couple tablespoons butter and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to a fast simmer. Ignore while you do other things, but do not let it boil over or your kitchen will be red.
When the liquid has reduced to the point that it is beginning to thicken, remove the beets to a bowl. Continue reducing the liquid until it is syrupy. Add one more Tb butter, remove from heat, and swirl the pan around until the butter is melted in and the sauce is thick and smooth. Pour over the beets and eat at once. Wonder why anyone doesn't like boiled beets.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten goes one step further. He cooks and minces the greens, tosses with ricotta, and stuffs big ravioli with them. These cook very quickly, like 2-3 minutes (they're done when they float), so when the beets are just about ready you put the ravioli in boiling water and go back to the sauce thing. Ravioli on a plate, add beets, top with beautiful pink sauce. If the beets are very good, this is spectacular; if the beets are mediocre, this is still pretty decent.