Since buying this book, I've tried four of Jeni's recipes: Goat Cheese and Roasted Cherries, Salty Caramel, Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World, and Buckeye State. Perfect results with all of them! Just follow the recipe, and you really will get Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home.
Before getting started, I'd recommend reading the first chapter of the book with Jeni's notes, tips, and explanation of the science behind making a great ice cream. As far as equipment goes, you'll need an electric ice cream machine (Jeni uses the Cuisinart Ice-20), whisk, 4-quart or larger pot, 2-3 mixing bowls, gallon size ziploc bags, ice cream storage container, parchment paper, and a big bowl for creating an ice bath. Other tools that comes in handy: a knife for chopping up larger ingredients, cherry pitter if you plan on making anything with cherries in it, digital kitchen scale, and double boiler for melting chocolate. You'll want an extra freezing canister if you plan on making more than one batch a day. For cooking the ice cream mixture, Jeni recommends a 4 quart pot, but I've been using a 6-quart stock pot and couldn't imagine anything smaller. When boiling your cream mixture, it could easily boil over, if your pot isn't big enough.
Basic Ice Cream Ingredients: you'll need heavy cream, whole milk, cornstarch or tapioca starch, sugar, salt, cream cheese, and light corn syrup/glucose syrup. Each recipe will also call for different additional ingredients like vanilla extract or beans, chocolate, natural peanut butter, spices, honey, nuts, liquor, etc. As with all cooking, the better the ingredients: the better the product. Buy organic ingredients and non-homogenized dairy products if you can, and splurge on the "good" chocolate...all this effort deserves the good chocolate!
Ice Cream Storage: I have tried three different storage methods. Reusable gladware/tupperware containers are ok, but I had a couple crack and shatter after freezing, leaving all the ice cream exposed to air. Specialty containers like the ones sold at designer kitchen supply stores are good, but I didn't want to spend $35 on a container, especially when I like to keep several flavors on hand. My favorite containers have been the disposable cardboard containers by Sweet Bliss. The Plain White Quart Size Frozen Dessert Containers fit one Jeni's recipe, or you can divide it between 2-3 Pint sized containers. Great for home storage and transporting (in an iced cooler).
It's been a blast to make all these great recipes, and I fully intend on cooking my way through this whole book! The recipes are well written and easy to follow. The photography is beautiful, and you get a good feel of what the finished ice cream is supposed to look like. Jeni lists her preferred suppliers if you want to use the exact same ingredients (I've found similar replacements at Whole Foods or the local farmers market).
One note: the "Salty Caramel" recipe has one small typo. The ingredient list calls for vanilla, but it's not listed in the recipe instructions. I added it at the end before mixing the cream mixture with the cream cheese mixture.
7/9/11 - One more note: there is another typo in The Milkiest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World recipe. It should read 1.25 cups of heavy cream instead of just 0.25 cups of heavy cream. I've heard that these typos will be fixed in the second edition which will be printing soon!