At long last, after 6 semi-successful tries and 2 disasters, I think I got as close to a macaron as I hope to get with what is available to me. My homemade almond flour is still a little coarse --and will be, as long as I do not replace that ancient food processor-- so my macarons do not have smooth tops; but they do have tiny feet! That delicious crunch at first bite, followed by the melt-in-your-mouth sensation is also there. A few of the macarons I piped at the end developed irregular feet, so I guess I have to work on my piping technique. And maybe, just maybe, I have to rap that baking sheet harder to settle the macarons. But otherwise, I am pleased, in fact ecstatic, with the results. Now, I hope that I can consistently get similar results with my future trials.
The recipe I used was David Lebovitz's. (Thanks for the link Renne and Mine.) I have to say that I still find my feetless, cracked-top macarons using Pierre Herme's recipe more delicious. I wish I can get his recipe to work for me one day. David Lebovitz's oven temperature and baking period did not work for me, so I preheated the oven to 375F but lowered to 350F as soon as I put my tray in. Also I baked for 10 minutes rather than 15 to 18 as he suggested.
This was really challenging! In fact, I do not remember anything else that challenged me in the kitchen this much and for this long. But with 8 trials, I am proud to stand somewhere between David Lebovitz and Dorie Greenspan (with 13 trials).