Korean cucumbers, which are available at Asian markets, look like long, thin Persian cucumbers. Pickled, they have a wonderful crunch. To fast-track the process, you can blanch and brine the cucumbers twice a day -- once in the morning and again in the evening.
Mrs. Pai recommends using small, slender Persian cucumbers -- they are less watery and have much smaller seeds. Korean hot-pepper powder is a blend of roughly ground sweet and slightly spicy red pepper. Chile de arbol is a good substitute.
Why should food have all the fun? Let liquors take a turn with fresh, seasonal ingredients. You'll find the results are perfect for making summer cocktails in a snap. This infused booze is great simply mixed with seltzer or ginger ale, but try it in a Cucumber Southside Fizz for something special.
Gravlax, a Nordic cold-cured salmon, can be found at specialty-food stores. Lightly smoked salmon (lox) can also be used. Pairing slices of the fish with grapefruit makes for a tart, sweet-and-salty combination.